England boss Roy Hodgson has defended his decision to call Jesse Lingard into the squad to face France on Tuesday – and says he “considered” a recall for Wilfried Zaha.
Hodgson’s decision to call up Lingard for Tuesday’s friendly against France has been met with widespread criticism, with the winger having made just one Premier League start – and played just 193 minutes of top-flight football – for Manchester United.
Crystal Palace supporters have also been vocal in Hodgson’s decision to overlook in-form Palace winger Zaha, but the England coach admitted he did consider a recall for the player, who has not played for England since August 2013.
“We did consider him, yes,” Hodgson said of Crystal Palace’s Zaha.
“He came in a similar type of player. They’re both wingers. We did consider him, but we decided on Jesse.”
In an attempt to play down expectations surrounding Lingard, Van Gaal said nine days ago that the player was not ready to play at international level.
Speaking after Lingard had scored his first goal for United against West Brom, Van Gaal said: “I would say it is too much too early. “We have to wait to see if he is consistent.”
Despite Van Gaal’s warning, Hodgson called the 22-year-old into his squad for Tuesday’s friendly against France – with the decision coming in for plenty of criticism from TEAMtalk’s readers.
Hodgson explained the decision was taken purely because his squad had been ravaged by injury and called Van Gaal before adding Lingard to his party to make sure the United manager had no problem with it.
“I don’t think he was wrong to say that (about Lingard),” the England manager said of Van Gaal.
“Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t have been considering Jesse Lingard at this time, even though he’s a very interesting player. I can understand why he said that.
“But the situation has changed enormously. He (Van Gaal) gave his blessing without any problem whatsoever. It would be unfair pushing that back on him.”