Why Crystal Palace have made the right move to offer Joel Ward a contract extension
Palace were rescued by Roy Hodgson last season after making a horrendous start to their Premier League campaign which saw them lose the opening five games, without scoring a single goal.
Manager Frank De Boer was immediately sacked, going into the history books as one of the worst starts by a manager in the Premier League. The experienced Roy Hodgson was installed and the club ultimately finished in 11th-place, scoring a total of 44 points.
The Eagles soared under Hodgson as talisman Wilfried Zaha was in the form of his life. The former Manchester United man flourished in his newfound role as a striker which saw the Ivorian score 9 goals and provide 3 assists in 29 appearances this season. He was one of the Eagles’ star performers this campaign.
Roy Hodgson and co. should be gearing up for the upcoming season if the Eagles are to build on their mid-table finish. The club have begun to do so by handing a new contract to defender Joel Ward. The 28-year-old right-back has signed a new three-year contract which will keep him at the club until 2021.
The defender was available on a free transfer as his previous deal expired at the end of last season but the former Portsmouth man has decided to continue with the club.
Ward has been an integral part of this Palace side. The defender has made a total 185 appearances for the club, scoring 3 goals in that time. He is excellent on the right-hand side and his marauding runs forward often give defenders a torrid time at the back.
Ward has the lungs of a stallion, he has a brilliant work ethic and a never say die attitude which makes him a peripheral figure at the club. Ward made a total of 19 appearances of the Eagles last season, providing 1 assist.
His defensive contribution is respectable as well. With a high work rate, the player is often seen tirelessly running up and down the field.
He averaged a total of 1.8 tackles and 3.2 clearances per game last season. Ward has been in the Premier League for more than a decade now and is experienced in England. It was the right move from the Eagles to keep hold of the player for another three years.
Even if he doesn’t end up being a regular starter for the club next season, he would be a perfect squad player and that makes a huge difference. The Eagles will once again be taking the field under Roy Hodgson, as the club aim to build on last season’s finish.