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‘The Midfield Engine’ – Wilson Palacios

Honduras. Let’s face it, this minnow of international football is not going to win the biggest prize in football. Of course the World Cup is about the dominant nations, Brazil, Italy and Germany however the beauty of the World Cup is that there is always a team that surprise everyone, just like Senegal did in 2002 by defeating France on the opening day. Can Honduras be the surprise package of the 2010 World Cup?

If Honduras are going to have an impact on this year’s World Cup, they will need some outstanding performances from their senior and more experienced players. Although only 25, Wilson Palacios is an integral part of the Honduran team. With Premier League experience, he is used to the ‘big’ games that involve some of the world’s best players. Palacios is a player who will work hard and do everything for his team, two key traits, that if transmitted to the whole Honduras team, will give them every chance of claiming a place in the knockout stages of the 2010 World Cup.

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A crunching challenge by the Honduran against bitter rivals Arsenal

A tough upbringing for Palacios was an essential part in his growth as a football player. His undying attitude to never give up, chase any lost cause and fight for the rest of his team mates, is what separates Palacios from a creative ‘tippy tappy’ midfielder, he is all about guts and determination. This is not to say that he can’t see a pass. As well as bringing his natural instincts to the football pitch, he also has the ability to be a match winner, admittedly not in the Premier League, but for Honduras, he is more than capable of stepping up to the plate and delivering for the country he loves.

It was Steve Bruce who brought Wilson Palacios to the Premier League with a little help from the ‘trained eye’ of Aresnal manager, Arsene Wenger. A brief loan spell at Birmingham City lead Bruce to acquiring Palacios from Olimpia in January 2008 for an undisclosed fee. His impact was immediate as he was often linked with many of the big European clubs during his time at Wigan Athletic. It is always dangerous to liken a player to an old great in the English game, but Steve Bruce’ comparison of Wilson Palacios to a young Paul Ince is on the button, the tenacity and guile of a central midfielder who is willing to put a shift in every time he steps on the pitch whether its for club or country.

CONCACAF Gold Cup First Round

Palacios giving everything for his beloved Honduras

With Maynor Figueroa, Hendry Thomas also representing Honduras in the Premier League, both with Wigan Athletic, the Hondurans are more than just a one man team. The impressive Edgar Alvarez has been a revelation at Bari this season in Serie A and of course David Suazo, once o Inter Milan now of Genoa will be a nuisance for any defence at this year’s World Cup.

Flair and technical skill is not what Honduras will be able to rely on during the summer festival in South Africa however with Wilson Palacios in their team, an exemplary example will be set by the Tottenham Hotspur dynamo, which if followed by his fellow team mates, Honduras maybe, just maybe make it through to the last sixteen of the World Cup. Now wouldn’t that be a story to remember from the first World Cup to be held in Africa!

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