Marcus Bent expects Patrick Vieira’s aggressive playing style to rub off on his Crystal Palace players.
Vieira has taken over as the Eagles’ new manager, succeeding former England boss Roy Hodgson on a three-year deal.
The Frenchman made his mark in the Premier League during a trophy-laden spell with London rivals Arsenal, with his tough-tackling and leadership qualities being a key reason for the Gunners’ success under then-chief Arsene Wenger.
Vieira, who captained Arsenal during their Invincibles campaign in 2003/04, has inherited a threadbare Palace squad after a large number of last season’s squad saw their contracts expire.
As a result, Vieira will have the chance to develop a new-look outfit and instil his philosophy at Selhurst Park.
Vieira’s appointment comes after being sacked as Nice’s boss last December, following a five-match losing streak.
But Bent, who featured for Palace during the early days of his playing career, feels Vieira will make Palace a tough team to beat if he can keep Wilfried Zaha on board and make some key signings.
The former striker exclusively told Football FanCast: “I think the players Palace have got are aggressive. They have always been a tackling side that likes to put their foot in. It’s been cultured into them since when I was there. It’s a club where you wear your heart on your sleeve and make sure you make a tackle.
“That was Roy Hodgson’s style of play in a sense. Now I think it’s a style of play where Vieira can implement his traits. Wilfried Zaha, going forward, is skilful and a little bit like Thierry Henry, who Vieira played with for Arsenal and France. Maybe Vieira can bring Zaha into a different world of his own if he doesn’t move.
“Vieira needs those sorts of players to stay and bring players in to help him. The back four are solid to a certain extent but it depends on whether they can tweak it a little bit to have a good squad and season.”