Roy Hodgson: ‘Under-rated’ Crystal Palace players can step up in Wilfried Zaha’s absence

BY SAM SMITH

Roy Hodgson believes some Crystal Palace players whose technical abilities are under-rated can make up for the absence of Wilfried Zaha against Newcastle United.

Zaha misses tonight’s fixture against the Magpies as he completes the final day of his self-isolation period.

Palace struggled without the 28-year-old against Burnley on Monday night. Chris Wood’s goal condemned the Eagles to a disappointing defeat, and the South Londoners struggled to create enough scoring chances.

But Hodgson thinks he has players who can step up when Zaha is unavailable.

The 73-year-old said: “There are a lot of players at the club who are under-rated in terms of their quality and in terms of their technical ability, so I don’t have any real fears in that respect.

“In a long season, you need a lot of players and you need all your big ones to be able to play regularly and step up to the plate and produce the performances that you know they are capable of. Up to now, I don’t think I have been let down in any way in that respect.

“It’s always going to be a case that with a player of Wilf’s stature, if he doesn’t play and the team doesn’t win, people are going to talk about his absence more than maybe they would with other players.

“That’s not just a case with Crystal Palace, that’s a case with all clubs. Every club has got a Wilfried Zaha somewhere, who fans and the mass media think is the man to win the game for their club. And when that guy doesn’t play, that’s what is going to be said quite often.”

Zaha had to self-isolate for 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19 last week. The Ivory Coast international will take a second test tomorrow, with Premier League rules stating that players who test positive must then return a negative result before returning to training.

 


 

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