Belfast Telegraph

Pulis - Kaikai must prove himself

Teenage prospect Sullay Kaikai can inspire a new batch of home-grown talent to break through at Crystal Palace, according to Tony Pulis, if the young striker proves he is good enough.

Eagles manager Pulis has confirmed 18-year-old academy graduate Kaikai is in contention to make the squad for Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Norwich.

The former Stoke boss has already identified two more Palace youngsters he believes boast rich potential.

But Pulis has warned Palace's reputation for developing their own young stars will not force him to compromise his own high standards.

He said: "Just because Palace have got a fantastic reputation for developing players it doesn't mean players just step into the team.

"Those players have to prove they are good enough.

"We had a young lad who scored a hat-trick in the under-21s and he will be coming to Norwich.

"I'm hoping there will be two or three of those.

"(Ryan) Shawcross was captain at 19 years of age at Stoke, we had Asmir Begovic at 20, Marc Wilson at 20, Steven N'Zonzi and Ryan Shotton - they were all young players who came through.

"But the big thing was they were good enough to play in the team."

Born in London to Sierra Leonean parents, Kaikai joined Crystal Palace aged 15.

Kaikai won the League Football Education goal of the season award in 2012-13 for his solo goal against Liverpool during a 3-3 draw in August 2012.

Palace bosses will hope he can follow in the footsteps of club products like Manchester United forward Wilfried Zaha and Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne.

Meanwhile, Palace boss Pulis has put frustrations around Yannick Bolasie's three-game ban to bed.

The midfielder was given a straight red card for his tackle on Jake Livermore in Palace's 1-0 victory at Hull last weekend.

Palace appealed the decision, but the Football Association upheld the sanction.

Pulis confirmed he spoke to referees' boss and head of the Professional Game Match Officials Board Mike Riley on Monday.

He said: "I spoke to Mike: he must have been waiting for my phone call on Monday.

"I just had a chat with him about it, and he was very open and honest.

"Looking at it there's no way in a million years he was going in to harm a player, but it would have been deemed to be reckless.

"And that's how things go these days ultimately."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph