Crystal Palace defender Scott Dann claims that the appointment of former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has sparked the best form of his life.
The South London side were tipped for relegation at the end of last year under manager Neil Warnock having just one win from 12 games. The arrival of Alan Pardew from Newcastle in January proved the catalyst for an amazing turn around for the Eagles. The side in the red and blue managed to win eight of their next 13 games allowing them to climb up the table to 12th.
Pardew has brought out the best in a team full of players lacking in confidence. Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie have terrorized opposition defences whilst English defender Scott Dann has been in inspired form. The Scouser's performances have led many to question whether he can perform for England on the international stage.
He told The Mirror: “I feel I have got better under this manager. My performances have moved on to another level and I want to keep improving.
“With a new manager, you always get a reaction, but the job he has come in and done has been really good. Perhaps that is due to him being more expansive, in terms of getting bodies forward and scoring more, but everyone is enjoying it.
“He does not really rant and rave in the dressing room, he is actually quite calm. But he gets a message across in the right way and people respect him.
Dann capable of making step up?
“The majority of work he does is on the training ground and you always know exactly what your job is.
“I am surprised Newcastle let him go. When all the changes were going on, we heard rumours he could arrive, but we didn’t think it would happen.
“I think people in Newcastle might realise now that he is a bit better than they thought because we have really pushed on since he arrived.”
Palace co-owner Steve Parish publicly praised the centre-back when he named him in his all time best Palace XI and called on England boss Roy Hodgson to recognise the defenders talent.
The 28-year-old said: “It is nice when people take notice of the way you play, but I will just get on with my job. This is definitely the best dressing room I have been involved in.
“We all have a laugh and a joke, but, when it comes to training and games, everyone puts the work in.
“It is good to know you have people like that next to you.
“When the manager came in, I think he realised what a good bunch of lads he had inherited and I think that gives you the edge in games.
“It’s probably nicked us points we’d otherwise have been without. We have come from behind to gain a lot of points this season and you need that character.”
Dann is well travelled having played for many years in both the Premier League and Championship with Birmingham and Blackburn but is enjoying life in the capital he explained: “I’m really enjoying life in London. It’s quite a change from where I was previously, but I have settled in well and so have my family. I have a little boy now, Leo, so I have not had as much sleep in the past seven weeks! But things are going well.”
The Eagle's face the leage champions in Manchester City and Dann warned: “These are always tough games - but I wouldn’t have thought people look forward to playing against us.
“With the players we have got at the top end, you don’t know what Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha are going to do. If they are on it, there are not many who can handle them.”
It remains to be seen if Dann will get that elusive call-up, however whilst the defender continues to knock on Roy Hodgson's door the Crystal Palace faithful will back their man.