BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
After joining Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the season from Sao Paulo in the January transfer window, Brazilian goalkeeper Lucas Perri has played a waiting game to make it into the Eagles’ first team matchday squad.
The 21-year-old finds himself fourth choice from a group of four shot-stoppers in the senior side which includes club legend Julian Speroni, Welsh international Wayne Hennessey and current number one Vicente Guaita.
Despite the lack of senior action and with just a handful of appearances for the Palace U23 side so far, Eagles’ manager Roy Hodgson has been impressed with what he has seen, although admitted it would be hard to push the young South American up the pecking order.
“He’s been very, very good, but the fact is it’s not going to be a moment where I would look past (Wayne) Hennessey and (Julian) Speroni to give him a game,” said Hodgson to the South London Press when asked if Perri could feature in the first-team squad for the final two Premier League matches of the season. “I don’t think he’d expect it and it would certainly be the wrong thing to do,” added the Palace boss.
Perri made his bow for the Eagles at Beckenham in the U23s win against league leaders Ipswich in early February before returning to match action in March and April to play more matches, including some at Selhurst Park.
And as the season draws to its conclusion and the transfer window opens, Hodgson will be making a decision soon on whether to take up the option to buy the custodian from South America permanently.
“He came here on loan and to some extent, a bit of a trial to see what he’s like, and whether he’s good enough to play for the club,” revealed Hodgson about the 6ft 4in player who has played for Brazil’s U20 national team.
“We’ve seen enough of him to get an opinion of him as a goalkeeper and it will be a discussion when we (Chairman Steve Parish and Director of Football Dougie Freedman) get together [to discuss the playing squad for next season].
“His name will come up and a decision will be made as to whether we will try and make his loan a permanent move or whether he will return to his mother club.”