Brought to Crystal Palace by Patrick Vieira last January when the Frenchman was still in charge at Selhurst Park, Albert Sambi Lokonga moved to get some game time.

He initially got that, but everything crumbled around him when the now Strasbourg manager was replaced by Roy Hodgson, as the player revealed in an interview with DH, who was brought back in as an emergency to save the Eagles from a potential relegation,.

The veteran managed to do just that, and eventually stayed beyond his initial short contract at Crystal Palace, but Lokonga returned to Arsenal, to then head back out on loan to newly promoted Luton.

The player was asked about his spell at Selhurst Park by the Belgian outlet, who sat down with the 24-year-old for a very long interview.

He replied: “With Patrick Vieira, I was well occupied. When the new manager arrived, I lost my place in the team. I never gave up, but I couldn’t change his mind.”

Lokonga was then asked if 2023 was a ‘dark year’ for him, considering how tough life was at Crystal Palace for him.

He added: “It’s the hard moments that create strong people. I learned a lot.”

Lokonga started five out of seven Premier League games under Patrick Vieira, coming off the bench for the other two, but only featured twice under Hodgson in the league after the 76-year-old took over.