Thursday 22 August 2019

Hodgson admits his England past won't give Palace any advantage against Spurs

Roy Hodgson gave Dele Alli, left, and Harry Kane, right, their England debuts
Roy Hodgson gave Dele Alli, left, and Harry Kane, right, their England debuts

Roy Hodgson has dismissed suggestions his knowledge of "trump cards" Harry Kane and Dele Alli will give Crystal Palace an advantage during Sunday's Premier League fixture at Tottenham.

While England manager he gave both their international debuts, and they have since established themselves among Europe's finest players.

The 70-year-old Hodgson revealed his "enormous respect" for each led to him building his England team around them at Euro 2016, and he was present at Wembley on Wednesday when they inspired Spurs' 3-1 defeat of Real Madrid where Alli scored twice.

With Palace having the division's worst defensive record - Hodgson succeeded the sacked Frank de Boer as manager after four league games - the challenge presented by Spurs is significant, but asked if the way he knew Kane would help, Hodgson responded: "Not one bit.

"He's an excellent player; he was in excellent form before the Euros, during the Euros he was obviously disappointed that he couldn't reproduce that form.

"But he's a really, really good professional, one that we, going into the Euros alongside Dele Alli, thought might be our trump cards.

"It didn't quite work out for us during the Euros with the two of them as trump cards but they were trump cards before and have certainly been trump cards afterwards and I have enormous respect for them both because they are superb footballers.

"We know how dangerous both are. We know how good they are at contriving to get into situations where they can score goals and how good they are when they get in those situations at putting it in the net.

"Our job has got to be to try and totally prevent them ever getting into that situation. We have to work very hard to limit them because we know they don't need a lot of chances to score goals."

Sunday's clash, when Palace could be without Patrick van Aanholt because of a hamstring injury but Mamadou Sakho and James McArthur are again in contention, represents Hodgson's first as a manager at Wembley since resigning from the England job.

Despite the intense criticism he received during and after the Euros, he retains fond memories of the national football stadium, but similarly recognises his familiarity with it will not help.

"It's exciting to be going back to Wembley," he said. "It is a fantastic football arena and you could argue it's the best in the world. It's a wonderful playing surface, the atmosphere the other night (when Spurs defeated Real) was electric.

"Unfortunately knowing how the dressing room looks and knowing how to get to the dressing room from the coach doesn't help me a great deal.

"It's what those 11 guys wearing the red and blue stripes shirts are going to be able to do when they cross the white line and the referee blows the whistle: it's as simple as that."

PA Media

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