Nathaniel Clyne insists he needs no motivation for Everton FA Cup tie

The former Liverpool defender has set his sights on Wembley

George Sessions
Thursday 17 March 2022 22:30
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Nathaniel Clyne has his sights set on Wembley (John Walton/PA)
Nathaniel Clyne has his sights set on Wembley (John Walton/PA)

Nathaniel Clyne needs no extra motivation ahead of Crystal Palace’s FA Cup quarter-final at home to Everton on Sunday.

Victory for the Eagles would send them into the last four of the competition and book a ticket to Wembley for a fourth time in the past decade.

Former Liverpool full-back Clyne left boyhood club Palace in 2012, a year before they secured promotion to the Premier League via the Sky Bet Championship play-offs and could only watch on from afar when they lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup final in 2016.

“I don’t need any motivation,” Clyne insisted when quizzed about his links to Everton’s rivals on the other side of Merseyside.

“I am back in the side after not playing for mostly the whole of the season, so I need to perform well in every game I play. That is enough motivation in itself.

“This is the club where I came through the academy to play for the first team. To potentially take the club to Wembley would be something special. Hopefully we can get there.”

Clyne returned to Selhurst Park 18 months ago, initially on a short-term deal to provide competition to Joel Ward with other right-back Nathan Ferguson out injured.

Opportunities have been few and far between but Clyne signed further contract extensions in January and August of last year to continue his second spell with Palace.

A recent injury to first-choice Ward has resulted in Clyne starting the last six games after waiting until December to make his first appearance under new boss Patrick Vieira.

The 30-year-old added: “My body feels good. I feel fit, I have got my match fitness and sharpness back.

“I am feeling good, I am happy to be in the starting line-up and getting a run of games. I am looking to improve and hopefully I can make the position my own now – that’s the aim.”

Serious back and knee injuries during the last five seasons have stalled Clyne’s career, having been an England and Liverpool regular as recently as 2016.

He has relished his new lease of life at his old stomping ground, especially with Vieira enjoying an excellent debut campaign in the Selhurst Park dugout.

“We’re a mid-table team, having a good cup run too, which is good for the fans, so I’m enjoying every moment of it. I’m proud to be a Palace player,” Clyne said.

“It gives us an extra bonus playing at home and playing in front of our magnificent support. We’re looking forward to Sunday and hopefully we can put in a good performance, get the win and move on to the next round.

“We’re at the quarters at the moment, so it’s a very, very good cup run and we’re looking forward to potentially trying to get to Wembley, which would be a nice day out for the fans.”

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