BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson claims he substituted Wilfried Zaha to allow the Crystal Palace forward to lap up the recognition after another stunning performance.
The Ivorian managed three assists and was involved in the build-up to all five goals in the 5-3 victory over AFC Bournemouth.
Zaha was replaced with three minutes of normal time remaining – although Hodgson jokingly admitted he had to suspend the substitution so as not to take him off after a mistake.
Hodgson said: “He was fantastic today and he was fantastic last week. He was great up at Newcastle and very good at Arsenal. He’s had a really good end to the season and been more like the Wilfried Zaha we know he can be.
“That’s why, with the two-goal margin, thinking ‘they’re not going to score two more goals in the last five minutes, are they?’ I thought it would be nice to take him off and give him that extra bit of a round of applause because he deserved it today. Just as I was planning to take him off, he lost the ball by miscontrolling it and put them on the attack.
“They almost scored from it and I was a bit worried he might have thought that I took him off because he made a mistake. I didn’t want that to happen either. I hung on for another minute and he went on another splendid run, got the crowd on their feet, so I was able to take him off.”
PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD