MONTREAL – Nigel Reo-Coker is “flattered” by Crystal Palace’s reported interest in him but says he’s had no contact with any representatives of the English Premier League side.
On Tuesday, ESPN FC reported that Crystal Palace were “lining up a move” for the 30-year-old Montreal Impact midfielder, who worked with manager Alan Pardew from 2004 to 2006 at West Ham United. The Impact responded hours later, indicating that Palace “never contacted [them] about Reo-Coker.”
In a phone interview with MLSsoccer.com, Reo-Coker said he hasn’t been contacted either. He did, however, pay great compliments to his former manager.
“[Pardew] is a fantastic manager to work with,” Reo-Coker said. “I learned so much under him. I had my best football education under him. If there is an opportunity to work with someone like that again, it’d be fantastic. It’d be an opportunity you’d have to take.
“You look at what he did at Newcastle, from when they went down and came back up, and he got them to fifth place,” Reo-Coker continued. “That just shows you the type of manager that he is. How he transformed Crystal Palace – he came in, he brought them from the relegation zone to where they are right now [12th place].”
Palace are now safe from relegation, and next season will be the first that Pardew begins as the club’s manager. He will likely want to put his stamp on the team, and Reo-Coker could be of interest – Pardew made him captain when at West Ham.
A move to Palace and the Premier League would make even more sense considering that they are Reo-Coker’s local team.
“It’s where I grew up, literally five minutes from Selhurst Park,” Reo-Coker said. “I played my football in the streets. That’s where I started.”
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Reo-Coker joined Montreal in late December 2014, after Chivas USA ceased operations. He played in England for 10 years, until he decided to swap Ipswich Town for the Vancouver Whitecaps in early 2013.
“I never imagined I’d be here at this moment in time, having had a fantastic run with Montreal to get to the CONCACAF Champions League final,” Reo-Coker said. “I think it's a fantastic achievement, what we did, what we're doing, what we're capable of. But you never know what's around the corner. With football, scouts and teams are watching you all the time. You never know what’s going to happen.”