BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has called on Crystal Palace to improve their strength in depth in the January transfer window.
The Eagles boss has five very capable centre-backs but does not have the luxury of possessing similar options in other areas of the pitch.
Strikers Jordan Ayew, pictured above, and Christian Benteke have scored a combined four goals in all competitions since the start of last season, and Hodgson wishes he had as good quality up front as he does in defence.
“It is a pity that we do not have quite that amount of depth and luxury in other areas. That would have helped us enormously had we had that,” admitted the 72-year-old.
“Maybe, from the club’s point of view, that can be put right in the January transfer window.
“But certainly, if you’re talking about centre-backs, we have got five of them, and all five are exceptionally good. Today (Saturday), there was Scott Dann and James Tomkins on the bench. Mamadou Sakho is injured but it’s not one of those injuries that will keep him out for months on end.
“We are very, very fortunate in that area, but, of course, there are other areas in our team where the competition for places, or the ability I have to replace injured players, will be a lot more hazardous.”
The 33-year-old Cahill has been excellent since signing on a free transfer from Chelsea during the summer. The former Bolton Wanderers defender called time on his England career following the 2018 World Cup, but former Three Lions boss Hodgson refused to be drawn into talk of a possible recall under Gareth Southgate.
“I’m not going to get into that. I feel as though I had four years managing England and 57 games, and before each of those games I was being told: ‘You should be picking that player and you should be picking that player’.
“They do their work, there is no doubt that if you ask Southgate what he thinks of Gary Cahill, that he will be able to give you chapter and verse on Gary Cahill – what he can do, what he can’t do, how he fits into their plans. I’m just more than happy that he’s here with us and what he did for me during the large part of those 50-odd games.”
Cahill played 51 times for England and scored five goals, mostly coming under the tutelage of Hodgson, who was the national team head coach between 2012 and 2016.
PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD