Dubai: French defender Mamadou Sakho is keen on pushing his Liverpool stint into the past while moving forward as Crystal Palace’s mainstay for the future.
Sakho — who was at the Fifa Medical Centre of Excellence in Dubai earlier this week to treat a minor right ankle injury — was only too eager for a promising future under former UAE national team coach, Roy Hodgson, at Selhurst Park.
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“I’ve left Liverpool and don’t feel all that comfortable to comment on them or any other club for that matter. But, winning the English Premier League (EPL) after a gap of 30 years is truly deserving,” Sakho told Gulf News after his treatment session at the FMCE premises in Dubai’s Al Mamzar area.
“Of course, I am happy for the club, happy for all the players who are my friends and happy for the fans as well. But, I feel that everyone has to move on in life. And that’s true for me as well. I have written my story at Liverpool. My time there is up and now I have to move on and write a new page at Crystal Palace,” added the strapping 30-year-old defender.
Known for his tackling ability and passing accuracy, Sakho began his career at Paris FC before moving to Paris St-Germain’s youth system in 2002. While making his league debut in October 2007, Sakho became the youngest player ever to captain a Ligue 1 club.
The defender with roots in Senegal made over 200 appearances for the club, winning all four domestic trophies before transferring to Liverpool for £18 million in 2013. But, with new boss Jurgen Klopp not too happy with his defender’s discipline, Sakho had a loan spell with Crystal Palace in 2017 before being sold to the South London club for £26 million in September 2017.
“Our manager [Hodgson] has more than 40 years in football, and one of the good things about him is that he is able to relate everything connected with these experiences of so many years. He is always challenging us and pushing us to learn from experiences and evolve as players,” Sakho said.
Crystal Palace were well nestled in the upper half of the standings when the English Premier League had to be stalled following the worldwide coronavirus pandemic since early March. However, after resumption the Eagles started off with a 2-0 win against Bournemouth on June 20 only to slide off to seven successive losses to eventually rescue a point off Tottenham to end the EPL in 14th position.
“We all learn with every moment, and that is the thinking and philosophy for all of us. Over a period of time, all the players have had a common vision. Our first job was to ensure we stay back in the Premier League and that has been achieved,” he said.
“Now that we remain all of us need to make sure we all work together to be the best we can through this common vision. We have some good players in the squad and we know we can be more ambitious when the new season starts. It was a real shame to see the end of the league, but this is professional football and such things happen. We all need to be focused and the next season will be even better.”