This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Having made 17 appearances in the first half of the 2017/18 campaign – playing 90 minutes in 15 of those games – Scott Dann was a true mainstay in Frank de Boer and then Roy Hodgson’s starting XI.
However, his career at Selhurst Park was ruined by one moment.
The 32-year-old lined up against Pep Guardiola’s formidable Manchester City side on New Year’s Eve back in 2017, with the Citizens yet to be beaten by anyone up to that point.
Dann attempted to tackle Kevin De Bruyne on the edge of the Palace box before clutching his knee, screaming in agony at what had just happened.
He had ruptured his cruciate ligament and looked set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
In the time that he spent in rehab, the centre-back situation in SE25 changed drastically, and negatively, for Dann.
James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho emerged as a formidable partnership at the back under Hodgson – the pair helped keep the Premier League’s sixth-best clean sheet record last term – and the former England manager never looked further than those two in terms of selecting his centre-backs.
When one of them suffered an injury, Martin Kelly was on hand to step in and performed admirably while Dann continued his rehab.
The experienced defender eventually returned off the bench against Southampton back in January of this year, playing the final minute of a 1-1 draw.
However, his fate was sealed.
He found himself as Hodgson’s fourth-choice centre-back upon his return, and has since slipped to the fifth choice after the arrival of Gary Cahill, who has made two starts this term while benching Dann in the process – with Tomkins and Sakho both out injured.
A lot happened when Dann was out injured, but the downfall of his Palace career can be pinpointed to that one moment against Manchester City.