Crystal Palace may have discovered their ideal heir to departed winger Andros Townsend after Jesurun Rak-Sakyi shone on the international stage.
The highly-rated 18-year-old scored the final goal in 6-1 thrashing of Romania at St George’s Park on Monday after coming off the bench late on, securing a dream start for new England Under-20 manager Keith Downing.
Rak-Sakyi had never represented England at any age level before his impressive cameo appearance, and his eye-catching exploits could provide a much-welcomed selection headache for Patrick Vieira in the weeks to come.
Following the departure of previous Palace boss Roy Hodgson, the capital club embarked on a mass overhaul of their first-team squad, replacing several experienced campaigners with exciting young acquisitions.
However, one former star who wasn’t replaced was Townsend. It’s led to Vieira opting to us Jordan Ayew on the right-hand side of attack in the opening stages of the new season, but the Ghana international hasn’t scored a Premier League goal for Palace since last November.
Summer signing Michael Olise is another option in that position, although the former Reading ace has only just returned to training following an injury and prefers to play through the middle.
As a result, Rak-Sakyi could prove to be the solution to the south London outfit’s right-wing conundrum.
Although the teenager has played the majority of his football on the opposite flank, his stronger foot is actually his left, meaning he would have the ability to cut inside and pose a more serious threat to the opposition goal if he switched sides.
And he showcased just how much of a threat he can be last season, bagging eight goals and providing a further eight assists in just 16 appearances for Palace’s U18s, before being promoted into the U23s.
Rak-Sakyi was rewarded for his standout displays in 2020/21 after Vieira handed him his Premier League debut off the bench against Chelsea in the club’s curtain-raiser at Stamford Bridge, and that should be the first of many top-flight outings for the youngster this term.