South African-born defender Nikola Tavares gets run out with Crystal Palace senior team
Posted: 16 July 2017 Time: 11:59
South African-born defender Nikola Tavares played for English Premier League side Crystal Palace in their first pre-season friendly on Saturday.
The former Hellenic Academy product featured in the 3-1 victory over non-League Maidstone United as new coach Frank de Boer sat on the bench for the first time.
The 18-year-old, who is a Croatian junior international, joined Palace in February and spent the second half of last season with the club’s reserves.
He will hope to progress under former Ajax Amsterdam coach De Boer, and made a bright start in his first pre-season game.
Tavares was developed in Cape Town and his former Hellenic Academy coach Mark Byrne believes he can go far.
“He was always a very tall boy, even at Under-13 level,” Byrne told KickOff.com. “But aside from that he also had great ability and with the physique to master the position, it is a great combination.
“He is a very intelligent kid who has done exceptionally well and benefited tremendously from the decision of his father, as an EU passport holder, to move to England and get him into quality youth development structures.
“We are very excited for him and I firmly believe he can go on to play for Crystal Palace in the Premier League.”