Roy Hodgson believes Crystal Palace have solved Cheick Doucoure’s temporary absence with the signing of Adam Wharton.
The 20-year-old midfielder joined the South Londoners on the final day of the January transfer window after they shelled out a fee that could rise to £22.5million to Blackburn Rovers.
Wharton made his debut as a first-half subsite in the 4-1 defeat at Brighton last weekend, replacing Marc Guehi with Chris Richards moving into the back four.
Doucoure has been missing for the Eagles since he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the 2-1 defeat at Luton in late November, which saw the Mali international require surgery.
“He’s a link-man,” said Hodgson of Doucoure.
“That’s the term we used to use a lot in the past. When we were putting our teams together we would refer to a link-man.
“Someone who often isn’t the fastest player on the field – maybe not even the strongest – but he was always there and the one you could link the play around.
“When you had the ball at the back, you could get out through him. When you had the ball at the front, he would be there to get the next pass and keep things flowing along.
“That’s what Doucoure did for us. Those players can tend to go under the radar a bit because they don’t do the spectacular things – they don’t score the 30-yard goals.
“We have missed him but I think the club have solved his temporary absence with Adam Wharton.
“We have been very impressed with his early work here – he does exactly those things that we thought we were missing.
“I thought his debut against Brighton was good – as was Daniel Munoz’s.
“That’s a little bit of hope and a bright spot on the horizon.”
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