Crystal Palace youngster Scott Banks names which first team player is his biggest role model

By Mark Wyatt

Crystal Palace youngster Scott Banks says Wilfried Zaha is the best role model possible that he can learn from as hopes to break into Patrick Vieira's first team this season.

The 20-year-old is yet to make his senior debut for the Eagles but featured heavily for them during pre-season, scoring with a late free-kick against Reading and impressing against Walsall, Charlton and Ipswich Town.

He then made the bench for Palace's Premier League opener against Chelsea, but a slight injury means he has only recently got back to Under-23s action - marking his return with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over Spurs.

One of the Palace academy's most famous graduates is Zaha, who joined the club at the age of 12 and has gone on to make 401 appearances for the first team since. When looking for inspiration, the Ivorian is an obvious choice.

"Look at Wilfried Zaha — there is no better role model for a young winger to learn from," Banks told Dundee-based newspaper the Courier.

"He is good with the younger players. He understands that we are just trying to impress and he knows how much he can help. So, he is always there to have words with you and try to nurture you.

"Even just watching him and the things he can do with a football is a massive learning experience."

Banks has already been ear-marked by Palace manager Patrick Vieira as a player who will be spending time with the first team this season.

After his goal against Reading during pre-season, the Frenchman said of Banks: "He's somebody who technically can play at that level. He's really smart, always finding the right position to allow himself to go forward. He's a really smart kid and I think he will spend time with the first team."

Scott Banks celebrates with Conor Gallagher after scoring Crystal Palace's third goal during a pre-season friendly against Reading (Warren Little/Getty Images)

Vieira has already handed one of Palace's academy prospects their debut at the club when he brought on Jesurun Rak-Sakyi for his first-team bow against Chelsea, and there's little doubt that, should he stay free from injury, Banks will get his chance at some point too.

"It’s hard to sum up just how amazing that [praise] is to hear from someone like [Vieira]," added the forward.

"You need to come back down to earth when you hear comments like that from the manager, especially given what he has achieved in his career."

Banks also spoke about the Vieira's training methods - with the Frenchman putting on double sessions in order to bring his side up to scratch and get them playing his possession-based style effectively.

On the pitch that has translated into more attacking performances from the Eagles than supporters were used to under predecessor Roy Hodgson.

"He is very demanding and he’s bringing a new style of play to the club," added Banks. "With the last few performances, you can see how well he is doing. There are a lot of new faces, talented players and it’s a brilliant place to be.

"It’s a really exciting side and it’s my job to break into that side and play a part in what Palace are trying to achieve."


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