More than a game

Guehi helps PL Kicks youngsters recreate special Palace skills

20 Feb 2024

Eagles defender the taskmaster in fun "Recreated" challenge for participants from club's Premier League community programme

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Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi knows that it takes years of hard work, bags of talent and dedication to play at the highest level in the Premier League.

So when Guehi was offered the opportunity to pass on some personal tips to four young participants of the Premier League Kicks programme at Palace's academy training ground, he was only too pleased to oblige.

Tylei, PLKicks

Guehi made a special visit as part of the Premier League's "More than a game" campaign, which is showcasing how its wide-ranging investment into all levels of football enables people connected to clubs to have a positive impact on their local communities.

The England star chatted to the quartet - Ceren, Josh, Tylei and Jayden - and then set them three challenges for "Recreated", where they tested their footballing skills in a knockout competition.

PL Kicks uses football to inspire and engage young people, helping them realise their potential via weekly sessions - and the quartet's footballing qualities were put to the test as all three challenges were based on some of the best skills of Palace players Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Guehi himself.

Under Guehi's watchful - and at times amazed! - eye, all four players took part in the first round, "The Eze", showcasing their individual flair, after which one young competitor was eliminated.

Round 1, PL Kicks Eze challenge

The same process followed at the end of second round, a long-range passing challenge named "The Guehi", after the defender, leaving two participants.

The remaining duo met for a final challenge, "The Olise", where they had to recreate the Palace winger’s wonder goal against Luton Town, when he cut in from the right and curled the ball into the top corner.

Apart from the fun aspect of "Recreated", a memorable afternoon underlined how invaluable the PL Kicks programme is for local youngsters.

'Kicks is like a little family'

“I joined around two years ago and it’s made a major change to my life," says Ceren. "It doesn’t only help with talent, but as a person you grow.

"You meet new people, your communication skills improve and they give you the best opportunities, like being able to go down to Palace’s games for free or coming down to the training ground.

“It’s like a little family we have now. It’s the most beautiful thing.”

More than a game PL-KICKS-INFOGRAPHIC-16x9

Since its launch in 2007, Premier League Kicks has engaged more than 520,000 young people, and Palace are one of 90 clubs currently delivering the programme.

Over 1m hours of free sessions have been delivered at 4,900+ venues across England and Wales in the last 18 years, while former Kicks participants include Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Declan Rice and Guehi's former Palace team-mate, Wilfried Zaha.

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