The Eagles head coach said: “In the modern game, you need someone to quicken the pace, create an idea. Cesc Fabregas does it for Chelsea and Jason is our Fabregas, trying to come up with something that might unlock the opposition. He’s done it very well.”
Although Puncheon is a winger, whereas Fabregas plays in a central role, Pardew believes that both possess the same skills to control a game and allow their respective teams to run the rule over what is happening in front of them.
Fabregas has been lauded for his abilities this term, with his key passes and assist tallies incredibly high, and although Puncheon, 28, has been far below the Spaniard’s level, he has certainly enjoyed a rejuvenation of sorts since Pardew’s appointment at Selhurst Park.
Three of his four goals, and four of his seven assists this season have come since Pardew was named manager, including an impressive three assists in one game - a 3-1 victory over West Ham.
Along with Wilfried Zaha, Glenn Murray and Yannick Bolasie, the quartet of attacking talents have proved vital for Palace’s rejuvenation under Pardew, although Puncheon does seem to go under the radar in relation to his more flashy teammates.
Unlikely to win as many headlines as the free-scoring trio, it is Puncheon who sets them up for their chances and truly creating the play - making him arguably Palace’s most valuable player.