Having signed from Portsmouth in May 2012, we’re not far away from Joel Ward’s tenth anniversary at Crystal Palace.
What usually happens when a player spends ten or more years at one club is a testimonial match – a non-competitive affair to commemorate their service.
You may remember Julian Speroni had one in 2015, against his former side Dundee. A Palace team containing some of his old teammates, such as Andy Johnson and Clinton Morrison, won the game 4-3.
So, let’s take a look at the XI we’d like to see if the club honour Ward’s services with a testimonial match…
Quite simply, there can be no other man in between the sticks for this game. The Argentine shared the pitch with Ward 110 times, and the pair helped win promotion from the Championship in 2013.
Joel Ward – Peter Ramage – Damien Delaney – Pape Souare
Of course, Ward must play!
Alongside him, we’d love to see the bromance of Ramage and Delaney reunited – the image of them embracing in tears on the steps inside Wembley will be forever etched into Palace fans’ memories.
At left-back, Souare would be a welcome face at Selhurst Park. The Senegalese defender was a popular figure in SE25, but a horrific car crash effectively ruined his Palace career.
Mile Jedinak – Yohan Cabaye – Jason Puncheon
What a midfield trio this would be.
As far as we’re concerned, Jedinak will forever be welcome at Selhurst Park. The colossal Aussie led us to promotion, and captained the side admirably for years in the Premier League – him and Ward shared a pitch 116 times.
Ahead of him, we’d like to see Puncheon and Cabaye reunited. The latter recently announced his retirement, so he may not be in great shape by the time a testimonial comes around!
However, Puncheon is currently playing for Pafos FC in Cyprus, after playing 147 games for Palace with Ward.
Yannick Bolasie – Glenn Murray – Wilfried Zaha
We’re aware that some might not want Murray involved after his heroics for Brighton in recent years – however, he must play, as this attacking trio was simply mouthwatering.
Bolasie, Murray and Zaha tore the Championship apart in 2012/13 – it was worth buying a ticket just to watch these three at times.
Zaha, who has shared a pitch with Ward 193 times – more than any other player – must be involved for that reason alone.