In an exclusive interview, Crystal Palace discuss keeping Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze, signing Dean Henderson and more; watch Crystal Palace v Wolves live Sky Sports Premier League from 1 p.m. great sunday; kick off at 2 p.m.
By Simeon Gholam
7:53 a.m., UK, Sunday, September 3, 2023
Crystal Palace successfully retaining Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise this summer is a statement of intent regarding their ambitions, according to boss Roy Hodgson.
Both midfielders were linked with a move this summer but winger Olise, 21, has signed a new long-term contract to stave off interest from Chelsea.
Eze, meanwhile, will also stay at the club despite interest from Manchester City and others.
In an exclusive interview with Air sportsHodgson has revealed his joy at keeping the duo at the club after the end of the summer transfer window.
“For me, as a coach, it’s an ideal situation that we were able to keep these players,” he said. “Michael was close to leaving, but we managed to convince him to commit to his long-term future here, which is really a good thing.
“We can never stop the vultures. When you are a club of our stature and you have players like ours. There will always be teams that come looking for them.
“But it’s a strong statement of intent from the club that we’ve succeeded in persuading these players that their future is here, and that it’s not always necessary to covet a place in the team. a team a little higher in the league.
“Sometimes we can’t change that scenario. But we have to do everything we can to keep our best players and give ourselves a chance.
“And when we sell players, it is to be hoped that the money generated will be widely used and distributed within the club to replace those who have left. You are developing the reputation of a club capable of developing and producing good players. “
“It was Olise’s decision to stay”
It seemed in the eyes of the world that Olise was set to take the short hop across London to join Chelsea last month, only to have the club dramatically reveal he had signed a new long-term deal.
Hodgson says that although they did everything they could to convince him to stay at Selhurst Park, it was ultimately the midfielder’s decision to stay.
“We presented all of our arguments to him as to why it would be a good idea for him to stay,” Hodgson explains. “Whether it’s his evolution or whether he’s one of the first names on the team sheet.
“We said everything you would say to a young player who is lucky enough to take a big step. But in the end, it was up to him. He was the one who made the decision.
“We just offered him what we wanted. We didn’t do much more. He’s a smart boy and he was capable of making his own choice.”
“It’s a duo that can cause problems for anyone”
It’s the type of duo that keeps Hodgson, now 76, so excited about the game. From his return to Palace last March until the end of last season, Eze and Olise were in impeccable form. A pleasure to watch in full swing.
Olise is currently injured, but he’s looking forward to seeing them back together when he returns.
“They worked well together last season,” Hodgson said. “I have fond memories of it, and if I close my eyes I can conjure up the images of those two causing a lot of problems for opposing defences.
“I expect that to happen again, and that’s why we were so keen on keeping Michael. Even with the money we would have made with him, we would have struggled to find a player of his quality to do what he and Eze did together last season.”
For now, the creative load falls on Eze, but he can handle the pressure. So much so that he was once again called up to Gareth Southgate’s England side, having won his first cap this summer.
“All we can do is give Ebere a platform to play the kind of football he does,” Hodgson said. “Give him the ball in the areas and situations where he can use his talent. Everything else is up to him. If we can do that, then we can take advantage of it.
“For a club like Crystal Palace to have three players in the England squad [along with Marc Guehi and Sam Johnstone]with more knocks on the door, that’s a good thing for us.”
“Henderson can’t wait to play”
Palace moved late for a new goalkeeper to challenge Sam Johnstone in the window, with Dean Henderson joining Manchester United.
Now 26, Henderson should push Johnstone into first place.
“He’s been on the sidelines and it’s a really good chance for him to come back,” Hodgson said of his new goalkeeper. “For us, it’s a great opportunity to have two keepers of the quality we have, both pushing to be part of the England team.
“He must be very anxious. He had a wonderful time at Nottingham Forest and then got injured before returning to Manchester United. He didn’t really get the chance to show what he could do there .
“We don’t question the competition between outfield players, it’s only with goalkeepers. It gives me a headache in selection, but it’s a good headache to have.”
Experience takes on youngsters on Super Sunday
Crystal Palace takes on the Wolves great sundaylive of Sky Sports Premier League from 1pm (kick-off 2pm), and it’s a game that sees the oldest manager in the Premier League – and indeed England’s top four divisions – take on the second-youngest in the elite.
Hodgson had already been a manager for seven years when Gary O’Neil was born in 1983, but he thinks that won’t matter when it kicks off.
“I don’t consider him a newcomer by any means,” Hodgson says. “We’re all in this together, and I’m preparing to face his team the same way he’s preparing to face mine.
“He is [handled the scrutiny of the Premier League] extremely well. You can learn very quickly in this league, and the approximately 450 games he has played will also help you.
“He also had a good stint as an assistant. It’s not like he was suddenly thrown off and didn’t understand the level. I’m sure he’s more than capable of passing that on to his players. “
Watch Crystal Palace v Wolves live Sky Sports main event And Sky Sports Premier League from 1 p.m. great sunday; kick off at 2 p.m.
You can also follow Selhurst Park events on the Air sports website and app with our live blog, featuring game clips and highlights from free matches after the final whistle.
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