Thursday 8 December 2016

Pardew backs Puncheon for England

Published 21/08/2015 | 13:18

Jason Puncheon has been tipped for an England call-up by Alan Pardew
Jason Puncheon has been tipped for an England call-up by Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew says Jason Puncheon should be in the England squad and claims there are far worse players to have worn the Three Lions.

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England boss Roy Hodgson and assistant Ray Lewington were at Selhurst Park last weekend to run the rule over Crystal Palace duo Puncheon and Scott Dann in their clash with Arsenal.

And Eagles chief Pardew insists midfielder Puncheon, 29, is long overdue an international call-up ahead of next month's Euro qualifiers against San Marino and Switzerland.

"I noticed Roy and Ray were here on Sunday and I think we are a good team to watch because I think we have five or six candidates who could, in the future or even now, get into that squad," said Pardew.

"Punch and Scotty Dann are probably leading it at the moment in terms of where they are, but of course that's Roy's decision.

"The pool of talent for England is very big. But I do think Puncheon is underestimated by a lot of people in the game. I've played with players who have played for England and he is better than some of them.

"It's about getting an opportunity and having the confidence to take it. Punch and Dann have the confidence, they are top Premier League players and therefore they can play for England."

Puncheon's next chance to impress comes against Aston Villa at Selhurst on Saturday.

Tim Sherwood's new-look squad were narrowly beaten by Manchester United last Friday having got off the mark with a victory at Bournemouth on the opening day, and Pardew is expecting a tough encounter.

"They've started well. Obviously Tim has bought in a whole new batch of players and it's difficult to get them to know exactly what you want," he added.

"I'm sure he's not there yet but in the two games they have played they have looked pretty cohesive and Tim will be pleased with that, and obviously they have talent.

"I think all teams at the start of the season are dangerous, because most of them have not had a bloody nose. They all have their ambitions for the season intact, no one has knocked it out of them yet.

"We think we will have a great season, Villa do, West Brom do, Watford do. It's a tough period to win games in the Premier League, that's why the top teams don't go flying away at the start because everybody carries that ambition.

"Aston Villa will come here expecting to win, there's no reason to doubt that. They won at Bournemouth, they'll win away again. So it will be a really good battle to grab the initiative."

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