BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson was pleased to see Michy Batshuayi repay his faith after the striker rose from the substitutes’ bench to score Crystal Palace’s equaliser against Everton.
Last week, Batshuayi conceded frustration during an interview with Belgian media while on international duty over a perceived lack of opportunities under Hodgson. The on-loan Chelsea man had not featured in Palace’s previous five matches but scored for Belgium in a big 8-0 success over Belarus.
The 27-year-old took Wilfried Zaha’s pass in his stride on 86 minutes and struck powerfully across Robin Olsen to cancel out James Rodriguez’s goal. Hodgson had introduced him from the bench just two minutes earlier. This was just the second goal of his latest loan spell with the South Londoners.
“He scored a goal which was very important to us. He’s got to be very pleased with that and we’re certainly very pleased with that,” Hodgson said after the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
“The fact is, I’m afraid, that when players go away on international duty and they’re talking to Belgian journalists after scoring a goal for their national team against Belarus and then they’re asked: ‘How is it at Crystal Palace when you haven’t been playing?’ it would be surprising to me if the player didn’t make the kind of comments that he made.
“For me, it’s part and parcel of football and you (journalists) must have seen many quotes of that type in that type of situation. Since he’s come back, he’s been in good form and good spirits.
“He’s contributed well in the training sessions, which has given me the faith to put him on tonight and see what he can do. Luckily, he repaid that faith by scoring a good goal and it’s good for me, going forward, that we still have Michy on board in that way and that he still has goals in him.”
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