Nigel Reo-Coker denies Crystal Palace links - but admits interest in move

Nigel Reo Coker

The Montreal Impact and ex-West Ham midfielder has not had contact with the Eagles but would be keen on a reunion with manager Alan Pardew.

Nigel Reo-Coker has admitted to MLSSoccer.com that he is “flattered” to be linked with Crystal Palace but stresses that he has not heard anything from the Premier League club at this point.

ESPN FC had reported this week that the Montreal Impact midfielder is a summer transfer target for Palace manager Alan Pardew, who signed him for West Ham United in 2004 and later made him club captain.

The Impact soon poured cold water on those rumours, though, while Reo-Coker himself has now done the same.

However, the former England Under-21 international did speak in glowing terms of his former boss and suggested that he would be keen on a return to England should the chance arise.

“[Pardew] is a fantastic manager to work with,” said Reo-Coker. “I learned so much under him. I had my best football education under him. If there is an opportunity to work with someone like that again, it’d be fantastic. It’d be an opportunity you’d have to take.

“You look at what he did at Newcastle, from when they went down and came back up, and he got them to fifth place,” he continued. “That just shows you the type of manager that he is. How he transformed Crystal Palace – he came in, he brought them from the relegation zone to where they are right now [12th place].”

Reo-Coker, who turns 31 this month, joined Montreal in December via the dispersal draft after Chivas USA were contracted, having been traded to the now-defunct franchise from the Vancouver Whitecaps just a few months earlier.

The ex-Aston Villa star had an eventual start to his spell with the Canadian outfit, having skippered them on a historic run to the CONCACAF Champions League final, which ended in a 5-3 aggregate defeat to Club America.

His performance in the 4-2 second-leg loss, when he was forced to fill in at right-back due injuries, came in for particular criticism after America’s first three goals all came from attacks down his side of the pitch, but the Englishman still looks back on their campaign with pride.

“I never imagined I’d be here at this moment in time, having had a fantastic run with Montreal to get to the CONCACAF Champions League final,” he added. “I think it's a fantastic achievement, what we did, what we're doing, what we're capable of. But you never know what's around the corner. With football, scouts and teams are watching you all the time. You never know what’s going to happen.”

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