Conor Gallagher needs to be playing regular football – Patrick Vieira

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Patrick Vieira believes Conor Gallagher’s loan spell with Crystal Palace has been “win-win” for all parties involved so far but stressed the importance of the midfielder continuing to play regularly.

The 21-year-old has scored six goals and made three assists for the Eagles since joining on a season-long loan from Chelsea in the summer.

Gallagher’s form earned him an England debut last month while the Blues’ own injury issues in midfield has resulted in speculation boss Thomas Tuchel could recall the academy graduate.

But Palace manager Vieira said: “I think at his age what is important is to play week in, week out.

“You are making a career not just based on your talents, but you are making a career based on the decisions you are making.

“I believe there were so many clubs around him and he made the right decision because he is playing, he is playing well and I think he is surrounded by people in this football club who look after him really well, that give him the confidence to express himself.

“I think it is a win-win. It is good for us to have a player like that because he is a talented young player and on the other side, he made the right decision coming to us because we are delivering everything that he was hoping.

“Now what is important is to maintain those performances he is having to allow him to go to a different level.”

A brace in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Everton made Gallagher the outright top goalscorer at Palace this term and he will aim to build on that against Southampton at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.

This is his joint-best scoring season after he found the net on six occasions during the 2019-20 campaign while on loan in the Sky Bet Championship with Charlton and Swansea, and boss Vieira compared him to a Chelsea great during Tuesday’s press conference.

“Conor has this passion for the game when he is on the field like a Ray Parlour, but I would say he has maybe the quality finishing of a Frank Lampard,” the Eagles manager added.

“It is a manager’s dream to have a player like Conor because when he is on the field, he will give everything.

“He is focused, concentrated and will always give his best. This is something that for me is really important.”

Before his weekend double, Gallagher had gone four games without a goal, which coincided with partner-in-chief James McArthur suffering a hamstring injury.

Since McArthur’s absence, Vieira has tried numerous different combinations in midfield and Will Hughes got the nod to good effect on Sunday.

In Hughes’ first start in seven months, the ex-Watford player impressed at the base of the Eagles’ midfield trio.

Vieira said: “I think there is more to come from Will. The more he will play, the better he will be. This is a position where there is competitiveness and this is what is good.

“The competitiveness we have in midfield should bring out the best in each one of them, so that will be good for the team.

“I was and I am really pleased with the game Will played and now what is important for him is to maintain that performance and be even better.”

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