Maybe it’s just as well Crystal Palace fielded their kids against Maidstone.

Andre Coker was one of the youth-team players given a game by then-Eagles boss Frank de Boer last July. It caused a stir as a record crowd of 4,000 turned up at the Gallagher expecting to see Palace’s Premier League stars.

But without de Boer’s U-turn, Maidstone may never have found out about forward Coker, who’s joined on loan until the end of the season. Coker was recalled when de Boer, later sacked after only four games, told the youngsters they would be playing.

He said: “I remember the manager actually said to us, ‘They’re expecting the first team, they’re going to be disappointed but put on a show or at least make it worthwhile.’

“As a team we went down and tried to make it as enjoyable and competitive as possible and we ended up winning that game 3-1. I don’t know if I was actually in his plans because he had a short spell there but I trained under him a lot of the time and did get to develop under him.”

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