“I’m 30 in the summer and you don’t know when moments like this will come around again”
Puncheon, who was signed by the Eagles on loan three years ago, says he will always be grateful to former Palace boss Ian Holloway for “bringing me back home”.
“He had me at Blackpool as well and he signed me on loan,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for him.
“Then Tony Pulis came here and he and the chairman pushed the boat out to get me – and I’ve never really looked back since. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Puncheon knows occasions like FA Cup semi-finals are rare – and the Palace ace is vowing to make the most of his trip to Wembley today.
“I’m older now and you do cherish these moments. I’m 30 in the summer and you don’t know when moments like this will come around again,” he said.
“It really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and you have to grasp it. I’m not saying the other players don’t feel the same way – but this is my area. This is where I grew up and I know everybody around here.
“When you walk to a local shop there is always somebody you know and you feel their pressure. You want the team to do well.”