'Weird' - Chelsea midfielder Cole Palmer gives honest verdict on Etihad return ahead of Man City clash

The 21-year-old will walk out in front of the Manchester City home supporters for the first time since his £42.5m exit

Cole Palmer is looking forward to his first trip back to the Etihad this weekend but admits it will be 'weird' walking out in the blue of Chelsea.

Palmer was a surprise summer exit from Manchester City, heading south to Chelsea on deadline day following the agreement of a £42.5million deal. The 21-year-old wanted a guarantee of more regular football and has got that at Stamford Bridge, playing 20 times in the Premier League.

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The boyhood Blue has already come up against his former teammates, scoring a 95th-minute penalty in November's thrilling 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge. But walking out in front of the Etihad crowd will be a different experience entirely.

“It will be a tough game but I’m looking forward to going back to the Etihad,” Palmer told Chelsea’s website. “It will be strange, a weird feeling, but I’m looking forward to it and the team’s looking forward to it.

“I’m very excited to be honest, even though it will be strange. Obviously I played against them at Stamford Bridge, but I think going back to the Etihad will be even stranger. But I’m really looking forward to it.”

Amid a period of vast expenditure, Palmer has arguably been Chelsea's best piece of business in recent transfer windows. The attacking midfielder has 10 goals and six assists to his name in the Premier League and has been central to Mauricio Pochettino's plans.

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There have been suggestions that City might regret letting Palmer leave but minutes were limited at the Etihad and the academy graduate was unable to develop without consistent football. The summer arrivals of Jeremy Doku and Matheus Nunes looked to further restrict opportunities and so Palmer made the decision to move on.

Speaking on Friday ahead of the game, City manager Pep Guardiola heaped praise on Palmer, who he always knew would excel once he got a chance at regular football.

"I didn't have any doubts about his quality," the Blues boss said. "The way he's playing is a star player. He wanted the minutes, it was a question of time to show his immense quality."

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