Freedman walks out on Palace and its young stars of the future

Farewell: Dougie Freedman has waved goodbye to the Selhurst Park faithful

Farewell: Dougie Freedman has waved goodbye to the Selhurst Park faithful

First published in Crystal Palace Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Former Crystal Palace favourite Nathaniel Clyne says the young players of Selhurst Park will suffer after Dougie Freedman’s walk out.

The Premier League defender was also surprised at Freedman’s decision to join Championship rivals Bolton Wanderers.

Freedman walked out on Crystal Palace on Tuesday after being given permission to talk to Bolton on Monday.

The Palace board comfirmed the news  on Tuesday afternoon in a statement on the club’s website.

It also confirmed that Lennie Lawrence and Curtis Fleming would be in charge for the Championship clash on Tuesday night at Barnsley.

Clyne, who played under Freedman last year and who now stars for Southampton, said: “The news came as a surprise. Dougie’s done so well there and the team was doing well. It all seemed to be coming together.

“I guess he is just looking to move on, going for another challenge, take another step.”

He added: “The young players will miss him. I know from experience what he does for the lads in terms of building confidence.

“It’s a shame for the younger guys, Dougie was a great coach to us. It will be difficult to get someone as good with the youngsters as he was.”

The bookies’ favourite to take over the role long-term is former Palace manager Steve Coppell, with Mick McCarthy and Gareth Southgate also in the running.

Freedman made 330 appearances for Palace scoring 95 goals. His last act as an Eagle was to preside over the 2-2 Championship draw with Millwall on Saturday where, asked about his contract, he said: “I am very comfortable and very happy about the position we’re in.

“We’re moving forward. I think I am doing a good job right now. I cannot control anything other than that.”

After two days of torrid speculation, a Crystal Palace statement finally said: “We can confirm that first team manager Dougie Freedman has joined Bolton Wanderers.

“The Board would like to put on record their thanks to Dougie for all his efforts over the past couple of years and their disappointment over the events of the past few days.

“The search for Dougie’s replacement starts now.”

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