Cheikhou Kouyate has described his new teammate Eberechi Eze as “special” and someone the Premier League will enjoy.
The 22-year-old joined the Eagles this summer after moving from Queens Park Rangers in a reported £20 million deal.
He has since hit the ground running, playing all three Premier League games to start the new season. Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home by Everton was Palace’s first loss after victories over Southampton and Manchester United. It was also the first time Eze got to start a match having played the other two off the bench.
He has received rave reviews for each game and Kouyate weighed in after Saturday’s performance.
"This kid [Eze] is so special," he said on the club website. "Now we need to give him a little bit of time.
"The Premier League is going to enjoy him because he has a good mentality, he plays well and we are happy to have this boy here."
Palace boss Roy Hodgson was pleased with his team’s performance despite the defeat and singled out Eze as one of the standout performers.
"I was very pleased with the team’s performance," Hodgson said. "I thought we started slowly and got ourselves back into the game well. And going towards half-time we were establishing some sort of control of the game.
"In particular, the second half, I thought the way the players got over the disappointment of finding themselves two goals to one down, in a way they felt was very harsh, and the way they approached the second-half was very positive.
"There were lots of very good individual performances and I would count Eberechi’s as one of those."
Kouyate was the scorer for the Eagles on Saturday, heading home Andros Townsend’s corner to equalise but was let down by Richarlison’s penalty to win it for the Toffees. The Senegal international who is naturally a midfielder, once again played at centre-back and says he is used to the role having played there for his previous clubs and the national team as well.
"I’m happy to score today," the 30-year-old said. "But it doesn’t matter because we lost; my goal does nothing tonight."I know this role for when I played with Anderlecht and some games with West Ham and also with my national team. I know this role a long time, and this is why it is a little bit easier for me."