Sunday 20 January 2019

Wilfried Zaha better equipped to deal with high-profile transfer now - Hodgson

Wilfried Zaha has been linked with Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal
Wilfried Zaha has been linked with Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal

Roy Hodgson is convinced Wilfried Zaha would be better equipped to deal with a high-profile transfer now than when he joined Manchester United four years ago.

Hodgson wants Zaha to remain a Crystal Palace player by the end of the January transfer window but refuses to guarantee he will stay knowing Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are circling.

The 25-year-old winger swapped Selhurst Park for United in a £15million deal in 2013 but he was sold back two years later after proving unable to make an impact at Old Trafford.

"I'm pretty sure the confidence he has today isn't going to evaporate whether he continues here or elsewhere," Palace boss Hodgson said.

"We want that to be here, of course, and luckily we are in control of that situation.

"But if the day did come when Wilf decided, or the club decided, they'd be obliged to let him move onto the next Manchester United on the horizon, I'm sure he'll be in a better position to deal with it.

"He was a young player at Crystal Palace, people were predicting a great future for him and (Sir) Alex Ferguson at Man United came along and paid a very, very high transfer fee at the time.

"I don't think that can be equated with a young player thinking the grass is greener is elsewhere.

"Even today most young players of 18 or 19 doing well, when Manchester United come along and are prepared to pay big money, I would expect in most instances they would want to go.

"If they say they would rather stay here then they could be accused to not wanting to pursue their career at the highest level."

Hodgson takes Palace to managerless Swansea City on Saturday while mourning the fate of Paul Clement, who was sacked on Wednesday with the club anchored to the foot of the Premier League.

"Paul Clement is someone I know very well. He was at Fulham just before I came to the club. I know his mother and step father very well," Hodgson said.

"I'm very disappointed to see him start off so well at Swansea only to lose his job in these circumstances just before Christmas. That's a sad situation from a personal viewpoint.

"Unfortunately it's a situation that happens more and more. When a team finds itself anywhere near the relegation zone, they think about changing the manager.

"Paul is the sixth manager to be sacked this season and that's an enormous amount of people to lose their jobs between pre-season and Christmas."

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