The rebirth of Ghana’s Jeffrey Schlupp
The adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has an interesting way of playing itself out in real life. If Jeffrey Schlupp’s recent form is anything to go by, then Leicester City might have reconsidered offloading him two years back. The Ghanaian midfielder is certainly on a roll. Schlupp’s string of impressive performances have earned the in-form midfielder, the Club’s Player of The Month for February. The German-born Schlupp, who joined Palace from Leicester City in 2017, will hope to earn a Ghana recall ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in June-July, having last played for the Black Stars in 2017.
The 26-year-old has been a regular throughout the month and has impressed Roy Hodgson enough to command a starting berth in the middle of the park, holding off competition from Max Meyer and the fit-again Cheikhou Kouyate. Being back in the starting eleven has rewarded Schlupp handsomely, with the player scoring five goals this season in all competitions and topping that with a handful of assists. It therefore came as no surprise when Schlupp beat Wilfred Zaha in the fans’ vote to pick up the Palace’s Player of The Month gong. With Wilfried Zaha struggling to match his output for last term, and the likes of Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke underperforming, Schlupp is emerging as an unlikely hero for Palace as they look to pull away from the hotly contested relegation zone.
Interestingly, Schlupp was amongst the goals during Palace’s opening match of the season against Fulham. Nonetheless, the player was in and out of the side during the latter part of 2018. As was the case at Leicester, where he was often overlooked for Christian Fuchs, it appeared as though Schlupp had failed to convince another Premier League manager that he was a worthy, regular starter in the top flight. Ironically, that has changed over the course of the season as Roy Hodgson has heaped praise on the underrated midfielder. Commenting on the 26-year-old’s resurgence off late, Hodgson said “I believe in him as a left-back, I believe in him as a left-sided player and I believe in him as a left midfield player in a three because he has a lot of qualities.”
Many will remember Schlupp as one of the first players to leave the Foxes after winning the Premier League in the 2016/2017 season. During his two years with Leicester, Schlupp managed just four goals, but he has already surpassed that tally this season alone as he had five goals as of end of February 2019. Now, filled with loads of confidence, and clearly taking responsibility as some of Palace’s bigger names lose their way, one would be forgiven to think that Schlupp’s fine run of form is most likely to continue.
Do you think the versatile Ghanaian international is underrated?