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Crystal Palace got rid of Jason Puncheon at the perfect time

The best spell of Jason Puncheon’s footballing career was undoubtedly at Crystal Palace and he will rightly be remembered fondly by Eagles fans.

However, with the 36-year-old now struggling for consistent form in Cyprus, it seems clear that Steve Parish got rid of the midfielder at the perfect time.

After an impressive career in the lower leagues with spells at Barnet, MK Dons, Plymouth Argyle and Southampton, Puncheon earned his Premier League breakthrough with Blackpool in the 2010/11 campaign.

Another less successful loan spell with QPR would follow before the Englishman starred for Southampton in the Premier League the following season, contributing five goals and six assists for the Saints in 32 top-flight appearances in 2012/13.

Somehow, despite his impressive displays on the South Coast, Palace were able to sign Puncheon initially on loan in 2013, with the versatile winger arriving as a replacement for Manchester United-bound Wilfried Zaha.

Following an impressive start to life at Selhurst Park, his move was made permanent in January 2014, and he would go on to notch seven goals and four assists in his first full season with the club.

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The 2014/15 campaign was arguably Puncheon’s best in a Palace shirt as he managed six goals and seven assists in the Premier League, so it was no surprise when manager Alan Pardew sang his praises in 2015 after rewarding him with a new four-year deal.

He said: “Since I’ve come in halfway through Puncheon has been the best player. I’ve given him more responsibility than he’s ever had. He’s made himself the intelligence of the team.”

Another two strong seasons as a regular would follow but by 2017/18, Puncheon’s influence on the team was clearly dwindling, as he made just ten appearances in the Premier League.

After just eight minutes of action in the top flight for Palace in the 2018/19 campaign, the veteran midfielder spent the second half of the season on loan at Huddersfield Town before his release from Selhurst Park, which was a sad way to end an excellent career with the Eagles.

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Puncheon made the move to Cyprus, first with Pafos FC before his move to Anorthosis Famagusta during the summer. Given that he has no goals and one assist for his new side thus far, it seems clear that Palace’s decision to release him in 2019 was the right one.