Crystal Palace boss outlines playing plan for defender

James Tomkins is set to play at least one U23 match before he is considered for Crystal Palace selection.

The centre-back, 31, has not made a competitive appearance for the Eagles since February.

Tomkins has featured 97 times in the Premier League for Palace since signing in July 2016.

He had been out long-term with a thigh injury.

“James is pretty much now where we want him to be,” said Hodgson.

“The only thing is that he hasn’t played a game since well before the lockdown, he didn’t play when we got started again and when we got locked down in March he was already injured, so I don’t know exactly when his last game was but I would guess it was in February.

“We’re just about to go into November so I’d like him, if possible, to get at least one U23 under his belt so he can say I’ve played in a competitive 11 v 11 game before I start throwing him back in.

“But he’s a player we admire, of course, and his talent has been proven so many times here at Crystal Palace that it’s great to see him out there every day now training, great to see him regaining his fitness.

“You never forget how to play football if you’ve been a good player like he is so it’s just a question of time.

“I would lie if I said tomorrow [Saturday] would be that moment to throw him in there quite simply because we do have very good options at centre-back even with Gary’s injury, we have very good options.”


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