BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has admitted Vicente Guaita could have started Crystal Palace’s 2-0 defeat by Manchester City, but the Spaniard’s groin injury and the quality of understudy Wayne Hennessey meant it was a risk not worth taking.
Hennessey started a league game in place of Guaita for the first time since March, producing a mixed performance in the 2-0 loss. The Welshman was unconvincing each time the ball entered the penalty area but made two excellent saves.
“Vicente Guaita has been complaining about a slight groin problem for a period of time,” said Hodgson. “We thought he possibly would recover, but he didn’t. There was a thought we could have taken a risk with him, he was not far off from being fit.
“But when you have a goalkeeper like Wayne Hennessey who was outstanding today, you don’t take that risk. Wayne Hennessey doesn’t deserve that. He deserves a chance, he lost his place through injury and he deserves a chance when the other goalkeeper is not fully fit.”
Martin Kelly also missed out through injury. He was replaced by James Tomkins who had a good game next to Gary Cahill.
Hodgson revealed Kelly’s injury is similar to the one that kept out Guaita.
“Martin Kelly was in yesterday’s training session but he felt a slight twinge in his groin. As with Guaita I’m not sure [how long Kelly will be missing], I’m hoping it won’t be a long-term injury.
“It was going to keep him out of today’s game, once again Tomkins came in and did an outstanding job. We were disappointed to lose players who were playing every game but the two guys came in did every bit as good as job as I could expect from Guaita and Martin Kelly.”
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