England cricketers Joe Denly and Sam Billings joined in a full training session with Crystal Palace FC last week, as the batsmen prepare to travel to New Zealand with the national side for a T20 series and two Test matches.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson and right-back Joel Ward also visited Kent County Cricket Club's indoor Academy after training, with Ward taking on a bowling machine.
Both Denly and Billings play for Kent, whose indoor academy facility in Beckenham borders onto the Palace training ground. Denly, who was an integral part of England's drawn Ashes Series last summer, and Billings, who is Kent captain and an explosive top-order batsman, both have football pedigree with Billings once offered trials at Spurs' Academy and Denly playing age-group football for Charlton Athletic as a winger.
The duo were invited to take part in the Premier League club's warm-up game of 'rondos', where a player is placed in the middle of a group and tasked with intercepting the ball from the outer ring, who are entitled to one touch of the ball only. The pair did enough to impress and were duly invited to take part in most of the the full session led by Hodgson, where they were largely employed to receive long balls from the Palace goalkeepers, before feeding the central midfield players, before attacking play commenced.
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