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Dan Pringle - Crystal Palace

Merry Christmas!!

23/12/09 |

It’s been another very quiet week at the training ground as we had no game on Saturday and had nothing to train towards. We started the week on Monday down at the Dome with Antonio Falanga taking us for a really good session.

Nick Carle, Allasane N’Diaye and Bonaventure Kalou trained with us, and it helped with the intensity and pace of the session.

Nick has trained with us quite a few times now and every time he has been fantastic. I hope he gets a chance to go to the World Cup at the end of the season because he is such a nice guy and really deserves it. Nick has time for everyone and is always talking to us younger boys about stuff. His touch, awareness and creativity are so good – you just can’t get close to him. But who am I to talk about Nick Carle?

Thursday turned out to be a very good day for me as I ended the morning training with the first team. I started off training with the Youth team as normal and just before we started, Gary said that nine players would be needed to help the first team later on in the morning, and I was one of them.

After warming up and doing some high tempo possession work, we went up to the top pitch and Keith Curle ran us through what we’d be doing.

The first team were working on defending, and we were needed to attack against them. I was put in the central midfield area against Shaun Derry and I did alright. Clint Hill went through one of our players after about five minutes so we knew they wouldn’t muck around with us just because we’re kids!

After working with them for 20 minutes or so, we weren’t needed anymore and headed back inside. The starting 11 then went in to a game against the non-starters but luckily for me, I was involved.

As I was walking back inside Ronnie Jepson came over and said the non-starters needed a defender, and Gary chucked me the bib and sent me back over. So here I was, playing in an 11 v 11 against the first team, and marking Victor Moses and Alan Lee.

I wasn’t worried about mixing it with them at all and put in some good challenges. It was a good learning experience for me and although I was a bit nervous, I felt I did well and hopefully left a good impression.

Playing against Alan and Victor was challenging as they are both very different players but also very intelligent. Victor moved in to holes which were hard to mark and defend against, and Alan is so good in the air that in the end I didn’t even bother jumping with him! I just tried to get him off balance and push into his back; he still managed to win the flick on anyway, so my efforts were pointless! Curley said well done to me afterwards so hopefully I left a good impression.

I went in hard on Victor once, which the Gaffer wasn’t too happy with me about and told me so, but I really enjoyed training with them and felt like I held my own.

They also worked on set-pieces at the end of the session, as the Gaffer didn’t think they’d be able to do it on the Friday because of the expected snow. He was proved to be right as the snow did fall, and first team training was cancelled the following day.

On Thursday evening we went to Redhill Shopping Centre and had some fun meeting kids and playing in the ‘Snow Globe’. We stayed for a few hours and it was nice to do something like this and represent the Club.

Mentioning no names, I think some of the lads enjoyed the Snow Globe more then the little kids did. We handed out some signed footballs and just enjoyed chatting and mixing with the fans.

Gary still wanted the Youth team in on Friday and although a number of us turned up late because of the conditions, we still managed to get a little work out done in the snow. Clint Hill, Johnny Ertl, Calvin Andrew, Nick Carle, Alassane N’Diaye all still turned up though and we ended up playing rugby in the snow with Chris Short.

We obviously couldn’t do too much, so we just went on a jog around the training ground, played touch rugby and finished with a bit of possession with a football.

The worst bit of news I have to report this week is that of Charlie Holness. Unfortunately for Char, after seeing the specialist he did need an operation on his broken foot. I have only briefly spoken to him, but from what I hear the operation went well and he’s now back at home recuperating. Now it’s just up to Charlie to get back and get fit as quick as he possibly can.

We did have a friendly game scheduled for Monday away at Wycombe but because of the snow, unsurprisingly, the game was called off. It was disappointing for me because I wanted to play and finish 2009 on a better note then I started it with.

To be honest I can’t wait to see the back of 2009 and move on into 2010. For every good thing that’s happened to me in 2009 there seems to have been 10 things that have gone bad. I’ve had a luckless year and hope that my fortunes can change for 2010… 2010 is my year.

This Wednesday the 23rd is the Apprentices last day in before Christmas as we have been given a few days off. I think we all need a little break from things and hopefully it will do us good. We get weighed and our body fats taken on Wednesday, and then they will be taken again on our first day back, so we must all be professional and enjoy Christmas in the correct way.

Finally, thank you for keeping on supporting my blog. As this is my last blog before Christmas, I end by wishing all my readers a very happy Christmas, and a fantastic New Year. I hope Santa brings you all you asked for!!