Opponents are quick to close him down and often double up on him. When he receives to feet between the lines, a defender will quickly run to meet him instead of allowing him time to turn. However, he shows good strength and awareness in these situations, and has the ability to hold off defenders while looking for a pass (below). Having done so, he is best when playing a simple pass to find a teammate rather than overcomplicating things by trying to find a runner in behind.
He has brilliant vision and an awareness of his surroundings, which allows him – even without particularly outstanding passing ability – to pick out teammates many others would not be able to. He does this with clever flicks, making a run across a defender, encouraging that defender to move in the direction he is going, and then disguising a deft flick back in the opposite direction into the space he has created. This does, however, sometimes lead to him attempting a difficult pass when there is a simpler option on.
He is a threat on goal from distance and isn’t afraid to chance his luck from range when the opportunity presents itself. Although he shoots far less for Palace than he did for QPR, they still try to get him into positions to shoot, and place him on the edge of the penalty area at corners – when he isn’t the one taking the corner – with a view to turning any clearance back towards goal. He is very good at wrapping his right foot around the ball to find the far corner; many of his 14 goals in his final season at QPR in the Championship came from that kind of shot. He generally shoots after running on to the ball, rather than receiving a pass with his back to goal, but that kind of opportunity has presented itself less frequently in the Premier League than it did in the second tier.