Crystal PalaceSport

Crystal Palace boss: Our injury record at centre-back has not been good – that’s why it’s handy to have plenty of defensive options

Roy Hodgson is well-stocked for central defenders – but reckons that is important considering Crystal Palace’s injury record in that department since he has been in charge.

James Tomkins has suffered an injury setback and is out of tomorrow’s home game against Leeds United.

But the Eagles chief is still able to call upon Scott Dann, Gary Cahill, Mamadou Sakho and Martin Kelly. Cheikhou Kouyate has also proved a decent option.

“We’ve not been able to have a [settled] back two, quite simply because during the period we came back from lockdown most of our centre-backs have been injured,” said Hodgson.

Millwall v Crystal Palace Pre-Season Friendly, 2020/21 Season, The Den, 01 September 2020

“That’s how Cheik Kouyate ended up playing centre-back because in the previous two seasons he’d been playing really as a central midfield player. He had to move to the back because we didn’t have anyone else to play.

“Lots on paper but all injured. Now we’ve got an abundance of riches because now they’ve all got fit again.

“It does make life quite difficult for me deciding which ones should play. I’m always very conscious of the fact that whichever two I choose there is probably always two, maybe three, not playing who could probably do just as good a job.

“The record of injuries of our centre-backs has not been great in my years at the club. And they are all 30-35 years of age, so in actual fact I don’t think it hurts to have a few extra bodies because we’re going to need them all over the course of the season.”


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