When he got the call to join new manager Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace revolution, Joachim Andersen knew exactly who to call.
“Of course I also do my research before I move to a place,” said centre-back Andersen.
“I played against him with Lyon when he was in Nice so I also know what he stands for and my good friend” [Denmark teammate] Kasper Dolberg was his striker [at Nice] so I talked to him about what he was like and stuff, what kind of training they did and stuff… what I expected is also what I can see now, so that was a good picture Kasper gave me of him.’
Joachim Andersen (right) joined Crystal Palace from Lyon this summer for £17m
One of the Premier League’s greatest players of all time and a formidable, fearsome midfielder as a player, is Vieira comparable as a manager?
“Um, no, he’s actually a really, really good guy,” Andersen smiled.
“I’d say he’s a joker. He wants to joke with the players, be close to his players, so that’s a little different from the managers I had recently. Scott Parker was a bit like that too, but when I was in Italy and France there was a distance from the manager. I like that you can talk to the manager, make jokes.
“He asked me yesterday what I was doing and vice versa, so building the relationship is fun.”
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira became one of the best players while playing at Arsenal
Andersen, a £17million purchase from Lyon, was one of the headliners in a big summer of ins and outs at Selhurst Park.
Andersen, who turned 25 in May, fitted the model of the younger player Palace wanted for Vieira’s new team.
In addition to the average age, Palace’s style is also changing. “I also know Palace from several seasons under Roy Hodgson and it’s a completely different way of playing,” Andersen said.
“It’s a way I like to play football, from behind, aggressive in the pressure, pressing high, just being in front and when you have the ball more it’s easier for me to defend, you feel better in the game, do you feel like you are in the game. It’s a big change because the last couple of seasons Palace has been more like a counter-attacking team, kind of leaned back and now it’s totally different.
The 25-year-old fit the mold of the younger player that Palace wanted for Vieira’s new team
“That’s my style of football and why I came here. I want to play with the ball and use my strengths with the ball and my knowledge, so of course that was the main reason I came here.’
Last week’s 3-0 win against Tottenham was the highlight so far, a smashing win against a team that spent much of the summer leading the race to sign Andersen.
“It was a big wish for me to stay in the Premier League,” Andersen said when asked about the significant interest in him following his loan spell at Fulham last season, which also came from elsewhere in the Premier League.
“And when Palace came up with this project, I was really hooked on the idea with Patrick coming in, a new philosophy, a new style of play. Bringing in interesting players, new players, young generation.’
Last week’s 3-0 win over Tottenham has been a career highlight for Andersen’s Palace so far
And also offer him the chance to play regularly. To see Andersen shine last season, even during a season that ended in relegation for Fulham, it was a mystery that he was available, first on loan and then to buy this summer.
‘I wanted to play every game, but he [then Lyon manager Rudi Garcia] changed a lot which I wasn’t happy about, but that’s football sometimes,” Andersen explained.
“Sometimes we have different ideas and I really enjoyed my time there, it’s a fantastic club so I have nothing bad to say about them and it brought me here so I’m happy.
‘I like to see a project presented to me and hopefully play a major role in that build-up.
‘I am 25 years old. I have to play football. I have to learn, improve, so that’s the only way you improve by playing football and also using my strengths and I could see that here. I’m here to hopefully take Palace to a good place.”
Palace’s next destination is Liverpool on Saturday and there was more research for Andersen on Wednesday.
He was an interested spectator, especially during the first half of Liverpool’s Champions League opener against AC Milan, when the Italians scored two counterattacks and briefly led 2-1.
The Eagles take on Liverpool, who this week defeated AC Milan 3-2 in the Champions League
And Milan’s goals marked the way Fulham had some joy against Liverpool last season, signing at Craven Cottage and then beating them 1-0 at Anfield.
“Those are some of the things we always have to be good at, to take our chances, when you’re playing against the best.
“Liverpool is a team that wants to be very aggressive, put pressure on them and some of the things we managed to do with Fulham against them was we were able to beat the first pressure, we were calm in our build-up phase and when we got that back we will have a lot of room to put our attackers in one-on-one situations where we have so much quality up front.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to do that and I just think with the players we’ve got we can really hurt them.
Andersen was part of the Fulham squad that beat the Reds 1-0 at Anfield last season
Liverpool are one of the best teams in the world, so we have to be sharp and do the same things we did against Spurs. I feel good, the team feels good and we are ready to fight.’
Despite all of Palace’s positivity and excitement about the next stage of his career, Andersen, when the conversation turned to his Danish team-mate Christian Eriksen and the traumatic events against Finland during Euro 2020, said something no one would be against: “Football doesn’t matter. more if something like that happens.’
Andersen has found some solace in Eriksen’s recovery after his collapse, brought on by a cardiac arrest suffered on the pitch by the former Spurs playmaker.
Andersen’s Denmark teammate Christian Eriksen traumatically collapsed during Euro 2020
But even via zoom, the mood changes understandably. Finding the right words on a raw, sensitive topic takes a little longer, as Andersen clearly chooses his own carefully while remembering the incident and aftermath.
‘It was a difficult situation. It’s still a difficult situation,” Andersen said. “What happened to Christian was terrible, but he’s in good hands, back to health.
Eriksen was taken to hospital after a cardiac arrest, but has since recovered
“Enjoying his time with his family and trying to understand what he wants, so right now I just don’t want to talk too much about Christian because I know he’s happy, in good hands, so that makes me relaxed and very happy in my life. head too, so that’s good.’
Somehow, from that harrowing near-tragedy, Denmark summoned the ghost to embark on an emotional run to the semi-finals, which ended by England at Wembley, and have won their first three World Cup qualifiers of this season.
Andersen said: “Everyone in the country was on high emotions and it really brought everyone together and I still think we’re riding on those emotions a little bit.
“When we came back to the hotel in the days, weeks after that, people were seeing sides of each other that we’ve never seen before, so of course that brought us closer together and I think that helps on the pitch too.
“We should be happy with who you’ve become close to, because life can be over in the blink of an eye. Luckily he’s still there, but it could have been worse.’