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Crystal Palace lucky to have a player of Zaha caliber – Watford’s Hodgson

6:08 PM SGT 23/2/22
The former England boss reveals his admiration for the Ivorian star ahead of the Eagles' visit to Vicarage Road

Watford manager Roy Hodgson has revealed his admiration for winger Wilfried Zaha ahead of the team’s Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Ivory Coast international is set to lead the Eagles against his former boss in a fixture the Hornets must win to improve on their chances of avoiding relegation.

Ahead of the battle which comes after the struggling Watford defeated Aston Villa 1-0 on Saturday, Hodgson has explained why he would like to face Zaha in his worst form and his admiration for the player he coached at Palace.

“I’ve said so much about Wilf over the years and my admiration and high esteem that I have for hasn’t dimmed,” Hodgson said as quoted by Four Four Two.

“It would be nice to see him in a slightly worse form than he is at the moment because Crystal Palace are certainly lucky to have a player of that calibre.

“In terms of his talent and natural ability, I would put him up there with the best players I have been lucky enough to work with. What Wilf has done is shouldered a very heavy burden for a number of years because he was always regarded as our main threat at Palace.

“The three players we used up front against Aston Villa have different weapons at their disposal in the same way that Wilf has. So I think teams analysing us might divide that threat a bit more equally.”

The 74-year-old former England manager also capped Zaha for the Three Lions before the player opted to switch allegiance and play for the Elephants.

Meanwhile, Hodgson has called on Senegal winger Ismaila Sarr and Josh King to help take off the burden of scoring goals from Nigeria forward Emmanuel Dennis.

The 24-year-old Super Eagle has so far scored nine goals in the top-flight and according to Hodgson, the returning Sarr should also step in the remaining 14 matches.

“Once you go below the second half of the table that’s basically what you can say about most teams,” Hodgson continued. “Most teams have probably got one guy who can be regarded as the main provider and main scorer.

“But I do think we’ve got three here who are capable of putting that cloak on their shoulders.

“Sarr has been out injured for a long time and maybe he can come in and take some of that burden on his shoulders.

“Josh King is another proven scorer as well, so in actual fact, I’m optimistic that there are goals and assists coming from more than just Dennis.”