In a recent interview with the South London Press, Crystal Palace youngster Sullay Kaikai commented on his plans to return to Crystal Palace and grab himself a first team spot. The 20-year-old currently is on loan with League One club Shrewsbury Town, managed by Micky Mellon.
Kaikai spent the first half of the season with Shrewsbury, but the young striker was recalled early by Pardew in December due to squad injuries. However, the 20-year-old found himself to be shockingly injured, sidelining the striker when he was handed an opportunity to impress. Kaikai discusses the injury:
It is the first time I’ve ever had a hamstring injury in my career. I didn’t know if that was what it was, or just a bit of cramp. When I got called back to Palace I had a scan and it revealed it. I was out for four to six weeks. It was a shame. I got called back because there were a lot of injuries but once I came back from my own there were other players available again.
Kaikai goes on to discuss the reason for his return to Shrewsbury on loan. He is quoted:
The gaffer thought it was best for me to play games week in and week out rather than stall my development. Alan wished me luck and just told me to go out there and enjoy my football – the main thing is to improve from the loan. He knows how good the manager is at Shrewsbury – and his assistant. He knows under them I’m going to get better.
The Crystal Palace loanee has been one of League One’s top performers. Kaikai scored an impressive 10 goals in his first 19 league games with the Shrewsbury and is showing signs of getting straight back into the groove he was in before being recalled.
The 20-year-old goes on to discuss why he decided to return to Shrewsbury specifically. He said:
I’m mainly operating off the left wing. He [Mellon] gives me licence when the ball is on the opposite side to join in play and not just be standing out wide. The decision to come back to Shrewsbury was the best one because I’d had success there already. The gaffer was comfortable me going back there, and so was I. The main thing was to be putting in the performances which get me in the Palace first team.
Kaikai’s hot form shouldn’t be overlooked by Crystal Palace. It seems that the young striker has caught the attention of Pardew, who revealed that Kaikai would have played with the first team this season if it wasn’t for the injury.
The Shrewsbury loanee commented on his goal to reach the first team. Kaikai comments:
Every year I’m trying to get into the first team. Pre-season I will come back ready to impress the manager. I’ll just take it from there. I have to do my part and put in the performances and rely on gaining the manager’s trust.
With Crystal Palace in need of a scorer, Pardew shouldn’t dismiss the idea of recalling the 20-year-old from Shrewsbury early again. Kaikai is showing great form and determination that could help a deplete Crystal Palace side. As more injuries pile up for the Eagles, it might be time to look for help in the academy system, or from players out on loan.