Crystal Palace boss defied medical orders to play defender in Bournemouth cup tie

BY SAM SMITH

Roy Hodgson went against the wishes of Crystal Palace’s medical staff by playing Mamadou Sakho in Crystal Palace’s EFL Cup defeat against AFC Bournemouth.

The defender replaced Sam Woods for the final half-hour to feature for the first time since suffering a pulled hamstring in a defeat against Wolves on July 20.

Sakho has had just two training sessions, but Hodgson revealed that a pre-match discussion with the Frenchman made him decide that he was ready to play a part.

The Eagles lost 11-10 on penalties following a goalless 90 minutes on Tuesday night.

“The medical staff were very reticent to let him play, they thought it was too soon and it wasn’t a good idea,” Hodgson said. “But I spoke to him, and he thought that as long as he wasn’t thrown into the deep end, as it were, he could play a part in the game. He did and that’s another bonus for me.

“He had been out a long time before that [injury] and then got injured again, so he played very little football in the last season for us. He was on the pitch for a long time tonight (Tuesday) after doing two training sessions, which is quite incredible.”

Hodgson was also impressed with debutant Nya Kirby, who played in an unfamiliar role in the right of midfield. It was the 21-year-old’s first competitive appearance for the Eagles, with his only senior experience coming in a long spell at Blackpool in 2019.

Kirby had Palace’s only shot on target midway through the first half and was replaced by Andros Townsend late on.

Hodgson, 73, said: “He did quite well. He has waited a long time [to play].

“And he’s another one who hasn’t really played any first-team football. I’m not certain he has ever appeared in a competitive match during my time. So that’s another bonus.”


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