England Hopefuls: Crystal Palace

Charlie Crowhurst

Having been promoted, Crystal Palace was looking a likely relegation contender back in October. Since then with a new manager and new edge, Palace has Premier League survival in the bags. Will there be any Palace player representing England this summer?

Crystal Palace was the last team to won promotion to Premier League, with a dramatic victory in Play-offs final against Watford. They seem to be destined for a short stay in the league, with the club languishing in 19th place managing just one win, when manager Ian Holloway departed. Enter Tony Pulis, the Welshman left Stoke City this past summer despite keeping them up in the top flight ever since Stoke's promotion from The Championship back in 2008. With Pulis in charge, Crystal Palace has since climbed up to 11th place. With league survival guaranteed and Pulis keeping his never relegated record intact, let's see which Palace player will be hoping to represent England in Brazil this summer.

Joel Ward, 24, defender

Ward has been ever present for Palace this summer, appearing in 33 games. He's quite versatile having played both fullback positions, as well as the centre midfielder role. His best role though is a right back, having played there 18 times this season in the league. His defense is quite solid, averaging 3.2 tackles, 2,5 interceptions, while committing less than a foul per game. He probably needs to polish his offensive contribution, as he's only registered an assist thus far. All in all, Palace has got a solid if somewhat unspectacular right back for the years to come in Ward.

On the plane or on the beach? Unfortunately, England have enough options in both fullback positions. The World Cup will be more than a long-shot for Ward.

Jason Puncheon, 27, midfielder

Puncheon, who arrived on loan from Southampton last summer has been crucial for Palace this season. In 31 appearances (27 as starters) Puncheon has contributed with seven goals and two assists, making him the team's top scorer in the league so far. It's safe to say without Puncheon, Palace would severely lacking some punch to their firepower.

On the plane or on the beach? At 27 and no prior England experience, its safe to say that Puncheon will be nowhere near England's squad for this summer's World Cup.

Cameron Jerome, 27, attacker

When looking at Cameron Jerome, one perhaps can't help to compare him to former England international, Emile Heskey. Jerome possesses a strong physique, however his finishing left little to be desired. His best season on Premier League (in terms of goals scored) was back in 2009-10 with Birmingham City where he managed to score 11 goals.That is only the second time in his career that he has managed to score double digit goals (he previously scored 18 goals for Cardiff City in the Championship back in 2005-06). This season Jerome has scored twice, his second goal of the season helped Palace defeated Everton in the midweek (to Arsenal fans delight).

On the plane or on the beach? We'd probably see Heskey topping the goalscoring table in Australia before Jerome gets a call from Roy Hodgson.

Dean Moxey, 28, defender

Moxey has made 20 appearances in the league thus far (18 as starters) with his last appearance coming over a month ago against Southampton. It doesn't seem like his injured, so its probably a tactical choice by Pulis. Moxey has contributed with an assist this season, while defensively he averages nearly three tackles, more than three clearances, and one interception. Similar to Ward, in the way that he just go around his business with no hassle.

On the plane or on the beach? See Ward, Joel above.

Scott Dann, 27, defender

Dann only joined Palace last January from Blackburn Rovers, but has cemented his place in Palace's defense with 11 appearances (all as starters) so far. He chipped in with a goal for Palace in the midweek win over Everton, his first goal for the club. Defensively, he averages eight clearances, a tackle, and two interceptions per game. In his last 10 appearances, Palace has managed to keep five clean sheets, definitely an inspired buy that goes a bit under the radar.

On the plane or on the beach? Considering England's options in the centre-back position, with the likes of Cahill, Jagielka, Smalling, Jones, and Caulker ahead of him. Perhaps only a massive amount of injuries will give Dann the opportunity of a call-up.

Dwight Gayle, 23, attacker

Gayle moved from Peterborough United last summer for a fee of £4.5m making him the club's record signing. However since Tony Pulis took over, Gayle has mostly played as a substitute. In 20 appearances (13 of which as substitutes) Gayle has contributed with 3 goals. His last appearance was way back in February and he is currently injured.

On the plane or on the beach? He will be soaking up the sun and training hard to sway Pulis for more game time next season.

Thomas Ince, 22, midfielder

Ince has been linked with a move to a Premier League for some time now (Liverpool was considered as heavy favorite to sign him), but last January he opted for a loan move with Crystal Palace for the remainder of the season. He starred in his debut for Palace, scoring a goal and chipping in with an assist in the win over West Bromwich Albion. That seems to be the high point of his career with Palace, as he's only made a further four appearances since then. Despite that, Pulis intend to sign him to a permanent deal come this summer.

On the plane or on the beach? With his lack of playing time, its unlikely that Ince will be called up by England for the World Cup. However, he's only 22 years of age and is very talented. A regular playing time in the top flight and he might even play a part in the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Jerome Thomas, 31, midfielder

The former Arsenal trainee is with his fourth Premier League club, having spent time with Charlton Athletic, Portsmouth, and WBA. His impact has been limited this season, as he's only played in nine games. He has not scored or provide an assist, but has picked up two yellow cards.

On the plane or on the beach? The beach, might even look for a new club.

Glenn Murray, 30, attacker

Murray was Palace's top scorer last season, scoring 30 goals in 42 appearances which topped the Championship goalscoring table. However, he sustained a serious knee injury in the Championship play-offs semifinal against Brighton ruling him out for the first half of the Premier League season. Having made his return last February, Murray has since played in 11 games (three as starters) scoring a goal and will be eager to make up for the lost time.

On the plane or on the beach? The beach, and he'll be hoping for a full fitness heading into the next league campaign.

Stuart O'Keefe, 23, midfielder

The central midfielder has played in 12 games this season mostly as a substitute, chipping in with a goal. The presence of Mile Jedinak, and Kagisho Dikgacoi has blocked his first team path. With such a small sample size, its hard to gauge his ability and he'll be hoping for a more regular playing time next season, with Palace or elsewhere.

On the plane or on the beach? Definitely the beach.
Aaron Wilbraham, 34, attacker

One Premier League start in August. One substitute appearance on the last day of August. Two further substitute appearances in 2014. No goals scored.

On the plane or on the beach? Nothing to see here.

Any Crystal Palace player we've missed? Or think that Scott Dann should be in England's squad? Or that Tom Ince should be chosen ahead of Andros Townsend? Have your say in the comments!

All stats courtesy of whoscored.com

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