Crystal Palace FC were today proud to announce the arrival of Alex Marrow on a permanent basis following a successful loan period with The Eagles. According to reports, the youthful, versatile Salfordian will cost Palace a five figure sum, a bargain in the eyes of those who have witnessed his abilities.
Marrow, plucked from Blackburn Rovers’ academy, joins the current ‘crop’ (see what I did there) of youngsters at Palace where he has adjusted exceedingly well to Championship life having made 18 appearances already this season, becoming a key man capable of dominating the midfield.
Standing at 6’1, Marrow can be as effective with defensive duties in the air as he is when the ball remains grounded, imposing pressure onto the opponent in question. But it is the way in which he performs these tasks which has endeared him to the Palace faithful, approaching each tussle or physical battle with the same amount of vigour and endeavour whether or not the chances of success are high. The boy has a vast array of mental skills as well as those when in possession; he can tackle a game with the same level of determination that fans themselves would show, unknowing of when to finally give up the chase. If there were no full-time whistle, Marrow would probably continue playing regardless, a fair testament to his impressive stamina and passion. Comfortable on the ball too, Marrow has acted as a reliable distributor, even in the packed ‘Heathrow terminal’ that is a Palace midfield, spraying passes from one wing to another, ensuring Palace’s dangerous players are those in possession in the most vulnerable areas for opposing teams.
Having been deployed in all areas of defence already in his brief Palace career, he seemed somewhat over-oared by the responsibilities early on, clearly uncomfortable at the back. But he fought through and found a rightful place infront of the back 4 where he has remained pleasantly all season. At just 20, Marrow is part of the same production line as current Blackburn midfielder, Phil Jones, who has been tipped for a promising career himself. But Marrow sought after regular first-team football last season, starting at Oldham Athletic on an initial one month loan deal which Dave Penney extended to a full season at Boundary Park. Marrow excelled, appearing 33 times and scoring one goal for The Lactics.
Dougie Freedman, now Palace caretaker boss, witnessed Marrow last season while still at Southend and kept a close eye on him while Alex starred for the Rovers’ reserve team. He recommended Marrow to former manager, George Burley, and Marrow joined on a short term loan deal. Now the man in charge and clearly impressed, Dougie snapped him up to join Steffen Iversen as Palace’s second January signing. The legendary striker had this to say of the boy:
‘I’ve been very impressed with Alex, it is good to see him join the club permanently and I’m sure he will become an important part of our squad for some time to come’
Dougie Freedman, Palace caretaker manager
With a two and a half year deal in his pocket, Marrow and Palace will attempt to haul ourselves from this sticky situation at the foot of the Championship. With his future sorted, Marrow may well exceed further expectation on his return from an unfortunate ankle injury. Nevertheless, with the new owners at the helm, the club is at least moving in a positive direction as stable foundations are starting to become visible. At a tender age currently, the money invested in young Alex could prove to be extremely fruitful.