Jamie O’Hara has lauded Conor Gallagher on talkSPORT for taking his game to another level since the rumoured Leeds United target joined Crystal Palace on loan from Chelsea.
The Eagles signed Gallagher on a season-long transfer in July for his sophomore year in the Premier League. He spent last term honing his trade with West Brom over 30 outings, two goals and two assists. But the England U21 international could not prevent their relegation.
Patrick Vieira will hope Gallagher now helps Crystal Palace move up the table after a strong start at Selhurst Park. The Epsom-born maestro followed a brace against West Ham United by recording his first assist by feeding Odsonne Edouard as the Eagles beat Tottenham 3-0.
Leeds will be watching Gallagher’s early-season form with Crystal Palace in rue, having also sought his services on loan. But TEAMtalk reported days before the Eagles’ capture that he rejected a move to Elland Road. The midfielder was a prime target for Marcelo Bielsa in the off-season, and even toured the Whites’ Thorp Arch facilities.
Now, Gallagher is performing at what O’Hara believes is another level with Crystal Palace.
“I thought Gallagher was absolutely different class,” he said. “I watched him at Charlton, then he went to Swansea and was in-and-out a little bit. And then he was at West Brom last season, and he was good. But watching him for Palace, he’s gone to another level.
“He was absolutely fantastic, really enjoyed watching him play. He was good on the ball, saw passes before other people. That peripheral version – the pass for Edouard’s second, he knew he was there. He didn’t even have to look, so that’s the sign of a top player.”
Leeds to regret missed Gallagher chance after O’Hara praise-worthy Palace form
Gallagher rejecting a move to Leeds to now perform at – what O’Hara considers – a sublime level with Crystal Palace will have frustrated Bielsa. The West Yorkshire outfit even agreed to terms with Chelsea for their product to spend the season at Elland Road. But the Blues let him decide his transfer, and he chose to switch west for south London.
Gallagher could not feature in the Eagles’ opening-day loss to his parent club Chelsea last month. But has since opened all three available games with Vieira’s men going unbeaten. He was also a class above against Brentford, smashing the crossbar to come close to a maiden goal on debut. While dictating the centre, with impressive vision and tackling.
Gallagher was again the cream of the Crystal Palace crop against West Ham, netting both goals in a 2-2 draw. The 21-year-old’s strikes coming as a well-deserved reward after bearing through a slow start and keeping his composure under pressure.
And against Tottenham on Saturday, Leeds’ summer target, Gallagher, was always calling for the ball and occupying dangerous positions. Proving himself to be a real handful and a constant threat, to earn O’Hara’s praise and leave Leeds frustrated.