Conor Gallagher sends message to Crystal Palace fans after scooping Reach award

Conor Gallagher has sent a message to Crystal Palace fans after he won Reach PLC’s Fans’ Footballer of the Year award for 2021.

The 21-year-old Chelsea loanee only joined the Eagles over the summer but has been the standout player for the south London side this season, scoring six goals and registering three assists in 16 Premier League matches.

His form has already earned him a senior England call-up to Gareth Southgate’s side in November, while his energy and eye for goal have seen him become a fan favourite in SE25 in just a couple of months.

In total, Gallagher took home a 57 per cent share of the vote to finish in first place for the award, which is given to the player who has had the most impact during the calendar year.

The runners-up included las year’s winner Wilfried Zaha (24%), Academy graduate and first-choice left-back Tyrick Mitchell (11%) and Ebere Eze (8%).

“Hi Palace fans, I just wanted to send a quick message to say thank you for voting for me to win this award,” Gallagher said in a video message accepting the award.

“It means a lot. I just wanted to say I’ve loved playing for Palace this season – it’s been absolutely brilliant so far. Merry Christmas to you all.”

How Gallagher captured Palace hearts

They say never fall in love with a loan player, and Palace fans know all too well how it feels to lose one who always gave their best to the cause as Ruben Loftus-Cheek showed back in 2018.

With Gallagher, the Eagles supporters haven’t been able to help themselves, though. The 21-year-old came straight into the starting XI under Patrick Vieira has since nailed himself down as the team’s first name on the teamsheet.

Crystal Palace's Conor Gallagher has won the 2021 Fan's Footballer of the Year award
Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher has won the 2021 Fan’s Footballer of the Year award

On his debut – a goalless draw against Brentford at Selhurst Park – opposition manager Thomas Frank admitted he had to change his tactics at half-time as the Bees were struggling to stop Gallagher from bursting forward.

He smashed the crossbar that day but wasn’t made to wait too much longer to celebrate a goal in a Palace shirt, as a week later he scored a brace at the London Stadium to earn a 2-2 draw against West Ham.

This was followed up by a starring role in the 3-0 win over Spurs at Selhurst Park, at which point rumours began to spread that Gareth Southgate had been keeping close tabs on his development.

Back to back goals in victories away at Manchester City and at home to Wolves in early November then turned those rumours into reality, as Gallagher was brought into the senior squad and made his Three Lions debut in the record-breaking 10-0 win against San Marino.

Since then he has continued to impress with his performances, more recently netting a brace against Everton that included a late, curling effort into the top corner from 25 yards.

Gallagher’s price tag has almost certainly risen exponentially thanks to his exploits in SE25 and it seems a certainty right now that he will be drafted into the Chelsea first-team picture when he heads back to Cobham over the summer.

Until then, there are 21 games left in Palace’s season for fans to soak up every moment they can from their star man.

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