Vicente Guaita is pushing to become Crystal Palace’s first-choice goalkeeper after the “beautiful” experience of making his Premier League debut in the 1-0 victory over Leicester.
The Spaniard was finally handed his chance, having arrived from Getafe in June when he was expected to be promoted above Wayne Hennessey, when the Wales international withdrew from Saturday’s fixture after suffering from back spasms
What almost became a forgettable performance – he was perhaps fortunate not to concede when Jamie Vardy was ruled to have fouled him when he conceded possession – instead became a memorable one when the 31-year-old denied the striker with a fine save when he was sent through on goal late on.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson recognises the time has come when he will have to consider giving Guaita a run in the team, and the ex-Valencia goalkeeper said: “It was beautiful. I have been waiting for the right moment and the fact is I’ve put a lot of work in.
“Hennessey should have been playing; he’s had a great start to the season, but right now he’s injured and so I have to help out the team.
“It’s difficult because Wayne Hennessey is a good goalkeeper, (Julian) Speroni is a good goalkeeper and all I want to do is help Crystal Palace. That’s why I came to England, to be able to play, to help, to win points.
“I hope this dynamic continues whether we’re playing with Hennessey, with me or whatever. What matters is Crystal Palace and the points.”
Reflecting on the two incidents with Vardy, he said: “There is a difference in the amount of contact there is in England and Spain but a foul is a foul whatever country you’re in.
“The save against the post? First I have to make the save, stay on my feet a little. The most important thing was to get a hand on it, whether it goes wide or hits the post and comes back to me; in the end we’ve got the three points which is the most important thing.”
Hodgson was asked about Guaita’s performance and he said: “He’s impressed me since he stepped into the club. Wayne Hennessey was playing really, really well and there was no reason for me to deprive him of his place.
“So poor Vicente Guaita has had to wait to show what he can do. I was never in any doubt that he would be a good goalkeeper and do well for us.
“There is competition between the two of them and (whether he retains his place) will be a decision I have to make. I was really pleased with him. I’m happy at this moment I don’t have to make that decision. I might have to at some stage in the week.”
Leicester manager Claude Puel was critical of his team’s poor performance and of Tuesday’s fixture with Manchester City, he said: “We need to sometimes have the ball and to use it with good quality, with calm, without rushing.
“We need to give our best without the ball – I think – for a long time in the game.”