Vieira can save millions at Palace with “clever” gem, he has “a bit of everything" - opinion

Christian Benteke left Crystal Palace earlier this week but Patrick Vieira may already have a natural replacement for the Belgian in Luke Plange.

After six years at Selhurst Park, the former Liverpool man departed for D.C United, leaving Vieira with Odsonne Edouard, Jordan Ayew and Jean-Philippe Mateta as his main striking options at Selhurst Park.

However, the Frenchman could call upon 19-year-old Plange, who featured in pre-season and remains in the squad, taking his place on the bench for the opening day defeat against Arsenal.

The youngster is yet to make his first team debut for the Eagles, and only has one appearance for the academy side thus far, so it is no surprise that Vieira gave him a chance in pre-season to get a proper look at him, and he certainly impressed, scoring a hattrick in a 4-2 win against Ipswich Town

Last season saw the teenage forward join Derby County on loan, where he made 26 appearances in the Championship, contributing four goals and two assists.

Wayne Rooney was a big fan of the former Arsenal forward and sang his praises after he scored on his full debut against Blackpool.

He said:

“Luke Plange has a bit of everything in his game.

“He can run in behind teams, he’s quick and he is also strong enough to hold the ball up. As well as that, he’s a clever player and also a finisher.

“With players like that, you know that if they get a chance that they are more than likely going to score.”

Rooney certainly knows what he is talking about when it comes to strikers, considering he was one of the best of his generation in the Premier League, so to hear him talking so highly about Plange will no doubt delight Palace fans.

Rather than Vieira spending millions on a new striker to replace Vieira, the French manager might consider promoting Plange to his first team and giving him some chances this season.

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