England

Conor Gallagher credits 'amazing' Patrick Vieira for England debut

Toby Cudworth
Gallagher debuted for England in San Marino
Gallagher debuted for England in San Marino / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages
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Conor Gallagher has credited Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira for his role in helping him become a senior England international.

Gallagher was handed his Three Lions debut by Gareth Southgate against San Marino on Monday night as he came off the bench during the second half of his side's comprehensive 10-0 win.

It was rich reward for what has been a fine start to the season for Gallagher, who joined Palace on loan from Chelsea in the summer.

Previously, he's had stints at Charlton, Swansea and West Brom - who he experienced relegation with last season - but his future appears to be a whole lot brighter in south London.

The Eagles have made a solid start to life under Vieira, who succeeded Roy Hodgson as manager in the summer, and Gallagher was quick to praise the Frenchman's impact on him since he arrived at Selhurst Park.

“Working under Patrick is amazing,” Gallagher said. “He was one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. To learn from him and work under him is brilliant.

Patrick Vieira, Conor Gallagher
Gallagher is playing a starring role at Palace / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

“He helps me a lot tactically and most importantly is how he knows my strengths and tells me what to do in terms of that. So I am allowed to do what I do best which is part of the reason why I’ve had a good start to the season.”

Gallagher had initially been called up to the England Under-21 squad for the November international break, but was drafted into the senior setup after a number of players withdrew because of injury niggles.

The 21-year-old admitted that the call-up had taken him by surprise, but stressed that he's focused on what's immediately ahead of him rather than cementing a place in England's squad long-term.

“To be honest I didn’t expect to be here at all,” he added. “I was with the Under-21s preparing for our next game. That’s when I got a call from Gareth to come and join the senior team. I was over the moon. I was hoping to get some minutes so I could make my debut and thankfully I did.

“I am just thinking about this season with Crystal Palace, doing as best I can for them, and do as well as we can in the Premier League. That’s most important for me now. If I continue to do well with them and carry on scoring a few goals there’s a chance to be in this England team.

Conor Gallagher, Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate congratulates Gallagher / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

“I have seen the quality and the amount of good players in this squad is amazing, the talent is very, very high. It will be a tough squad to get into. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking because there’s a lot of big names, big players, players I’ve only just met really.”

It's also been revealed by MailOnlineSport that Chelsea refused to entertain an option to buy when negotiating Gallagher's loan deal with Palace as they plan to integrate him back into Thomas Tuchel's squad next season.

There's no guarantee that he will make the grade at Stamford Bridge, but should he maintain his current form it will be hard for the Blues to overlook him despite their vast array of midfield options.

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