The 18-year-old was handed the second 45 minutes in Crystal Palace’s first pre-season friendly which they won 1-0 against Walsall, with the new era under Patrick Vieira getting off to a perfect start.
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Rak-Sakyi was a standout performer for Palace’s Under-18s last season as he managed to net eight goals and register the same amount of assists in just 16 matches, which has certainly caught the eye of the new manager.
Cook likened the winger to a younger Wilfried Zaha as he heaped praise on the teenager, who can play on either wing.
“Rak-Sakyi in particular was someone that impressed many Crystal Palace fans. He feels to me like if you were to go back 10 or 11 years in Wilfried Zaha’s development and parachute him into the first team – he’s got all of the ability, all of the skills and flair, he just needs to add that final touch.
“That will come with experience and with minutes. And if indeed we are able to keep him progressing and put him in and around the first-team picture over the course of this next 12 months, we could have a real superstar on our hands, and I’m very excited to see Jesurun Rak-Sakyi’s progress in the next 12 to 18 months.”
TIF Thoughts on Rak-Sakyi’s future…
To be handed 45 minutes with the first team at just 18 years old highlights the potential Rak-Sakyi has, and if the Eagles can ease him into the first team, they could establish a solid core of players in the next couple of years with the likes of Eberechi Eze, Nathan Ferguson, Michael Olise, Tyrick Mitchell and Marc Guehi now at the club.
With Cook likening the winger to Zaha, there aren’t many better wingers to learn off in the Premier League, especially if Rak-Sakyi wants to know what it’s like to entertain the crowd at Selhurst Park, which Zaha has done for several years now.