Goalkeeper on signing deal with Crystal Palace: It would be amazing to play in front of Eagles fans at Selhurst Park

BY SAM SMITH

New Crystal Palace goalkeeper Stephen Henderson explained that Selhurst Park’s “daunting” atmosphere for opposition teams was one of his reasons for joining the club.

Henderson became the Eagles first signing of the summer transfer window last week, signing a one-year contract with the South Londoners.

We exclusively revealed on our website that the former Charlton Athletic stopper was joining the Eagles as third-choice goalkeeper, providing competition to Vicente Guaita and Wayne Hennessey, following the departure of club legend Julian Speroni.

He joins the Palace squad for their pre-season tour of Switzerland, where they face FC Luzern today and BSC Young Boys on Saturday in the Uhrencup.

Henderson told Palace TV: “I’ve played at Selhurst Park in recent years and it’s a very daunting ground to play at. The fans are known for the home and away support but particularly at Selhurst, so it would be amazing to witness it first hand.

“It’s a privileged position [to play for a Premier League club] so I’m delighted to get it over the line. I spoke to [goalkeeper coach] Dean Kiely and he said: ‘Do you fancy coming in and having the opportunity to work with the lads?’ Obviously it’s a no-brainer and I jumped at the opportunity.

“The goalkeepers [at Palace] are at a very high standard which is what I expected, so I’m just going to take it all in and learn from them and try to support them as best as I can. Just seeing on my first day, the standards are what I expect from two top Premier League goalkeepers.”

Henderson began his career at Aston Villa and was most recently at Nottingham Forest where he enjoyed loan spells at Portsmouth and Wycombe Wanderers. The 31-year-old made three appearances last season for the latter in League One.

He has been capped by the Republic of Ireland at U16, U17, U19 and U21 level, but has not featured for the senior side despite a call-up in 2012.

PICTURE BY CRYSTAL PALACE FC

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