Patrick Vieira questions loan rules as Conor Gallagher set to miss Chelsea game

Watford v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Vicarage Road
(Image credit: John walton)

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira has questioned the ruling that will prevent Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher from facing his parent club in next weekend’s FA Cup semi-final and stated missing the game will disrupt his development.

The Eagles, who travel to Leicester on Sunday in the Premier League, have Wembley on the mind after last month’s 4-0 win over Everton booked a return to England’s national stadium for the first time in six years.

While excitement has swept through the club since Palace were confirmed to be facing Chelsea on Easter Sunday, one player left frustrated is Gallagher with FA competition rules regarding loan players facing their parent clubs requiring written permission from the Blues to allow the England midfielder the chance to play in the Wembley clash.

Earlier this week the Stamford Bridge outfit informed their London rivals that Gallagher would not be permitted to feature in the semi-final, the PA news agency understands, and it will rob Vieira of one of his form players and stop the Three Lions ace from featuring in the biggest match of his career to date.

“I don’t know if it is a bad rule but what makes me think it is not the best rule is the only one who will lose is Conor,” the Palace manager said ahead of the trip to Leicester.

“There is a semi-final, it is a really exciting game about how you will manage yourself and prepare yourself during the week to play this game. Playing this kind of game with this importance is the experience the players are missing.

“I am disappointed for Conor because he has played all the games so far and if there is somebody who deserves to be in the semi-final, it is him and because of his performances as well.

“I think the decision for Chelsea to send him on loan is for him to play these kinds of games. We have, as a football club, an opportunity to play an important game and that game will give him more confidence and belief, winning or losing it.

“For him to be on the field is what he needs to keep developing. Since he has been with us, he has been fantastic and for him not to have a chance to get involved in that game, I think it is something frustrating for his development.”

The expectation once the draw was made hours after Palace’s victory over Everton last month was that Gallagher would have to sit out the last four clash.

Vieira admitted he did notice an initial reaction from the 22-year-old after the FA Cup draw but praised his professionalism.

“I feel for him because he wants of course to play that game. Every single player will want to play that game,” he added.

“Yes, in the next day in training he was of course affected by that because he knew straight away it was a game he would not have the chance to get involved in and we feel for him.

“He was OK. Conor put his head back into training straight away but it will be more difficult when we get to that week and to the game.

“Of course, this week we are preparing for the Leicester game but it will be challenging for him looking at the team, preparing himself and him not getting involved (next week). That will be challenging for him.”

Palace visit Leicester before Wembley and the Foxes are a good yardstick for what can be achieved with stability after they sealed FA Cup success last season while in recent years have become an established team in Europe.

Vieira said: “I think it is a good example to follow because they have been really consistent in what they try to build and they had this kind of stability which gives them the kind of opportunity to grow up as a team and as a club.”

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