Jordan Ayew has revealed the reason behind his initial struggles at Crystal Palace, confessing that he was “overweight” at the start of the 2018-19 season.
Ayew joined the Eagles on a season-long loan from Swansea in the summer of 2018, which allowed him to remain in the Premier League after his parent club’s relegation.
The 28-year-old racked up 22 appearances across all competitions last term, but only managed to get himself on the score sheet once over the course of the campaign.
Despite his poor form, Ayew managed to secure a permanent move to Selhurst Park this summer, putting pen to paper on a three-year contract.
He has since played a key role in helping Roy Hodgson’s side rise to ninth in the top flight after 19 fixtures of the 2019-20 season.
Ayew produced his best moment in a Palace shirt to date when he scored a stunning individual goal in the last minute of a home clash against West Ham on Boxing Day.
The Ghana international cut in from the right-hand side before evading the entire Hammers’ defence with an outrageous piece of skill and chipping the ball over Roberto Jimenez in sublime fashion.
His fifth goal of the season gave Palace a crucial 2-1 home win in the London derby, and after the match, he explained why it has taken so long for him to live up to expectations in the red and blue shirt.
“This season is different because last season when I came to the football club I didn’t have a pre-season,” Ayew told Amazon Prime Video .
“I was overweight so it was a difficult season for me but this season I had the chance to have a full pre-season and I’m feeling better.
“I’m feeling relaxed at this football club and I’m enjoying it. Everything is perfect for me to be good on the pitch.
“This football club has a lot of faith in me because with the season I had last season, people didn’t think they would sign me. The manager especially told me he wanted to keep me for this season and I told him straight away: ‘Yes’. I wanted to stay.
“Since I’ve been in England I’ve been moving around and now I have stability. My family is comfortable here in London and everything is perfect.”
Ayew will be back in contention for a spot in Hodgson’s starting XI when Palace take in a trip to St Mary’s to face Southampton on Saturday.
The Eagles will then wrap up a hectic festive period with another tricky away fixture against Norwich on New Year’s Day, before the focus switches to an FA Cup third-round tie against Derby on January 5.