FORMER Sunderland hero Kevin Phillips has spoken of his delight at signing a one-year deal with Crystal Palace just days before his 40th birthday.
Phillips, the Black Cats’ leading post-war goalscorer, put himself on course for an emotional swansong return to the Stadium of Light next season when he penned the contract he had wanted since firing the Londoners into the Premier League in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted.
“I loved my time at Palace at the end of last season and was always hoping to have another chance to play in the top flight.
“It’s unbelievable for me but I am really looking forward to it and hoping I can play a great part in the season ahead.
“Everyone I spoke to said to keep going as long as the fitness and hunger is there and that is certainly the case with me.” Phillips joins Teddy Sheringham and Gordon Strachan as the only outfield players in the Premier League’s Over 40 club.
He last played in the Premier League with Birmingham City in the 2010-11 season.
Palace manager Ian Holloway said: “Whether he’s in the team or on the bench, I know he will score goals.
“I always knew I was going to keep him but I’ve got to get the balance right to help Kev.”