Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson admits he cannot rule out Wilfried Zaha leaving during the European transfer window – but hopes the forward will fully commit himself to the season ahead at Selhurst Park.
Ivory Coast international Zaha was a target for both Arsenal and Everton during the summer, and is reported to have handed in a late transfer request in the hope of pushing through a move.
However, after last week’s deadline passed, Zaha has since returned to full training with the south London club.
Hodgson brought the forward off the bench for the opening Premier League game at Everton, which ended goalless.
With the European transfer window still open until September 2, there is a possibility Zaha could further his career away from England.
Hodgson, though, hopes it will be the Eagles who now get to see the best of the 26-year-old former Manchester United man for the remainder of the campaign.
“Well there is not too much point worrying about it, if you are asking me ‘would I welcome it?’ the answer is no,” said the Palace boss when the issue was raised at a press conference, in quotes broadcast by Sky Sports.
“I would rather that he now gets his head down and commits himself to the season that we have got in front of us and commits himself to helping me, the coaching staff and the players into having another season that we can regard as a good one. That is what I would like.
“But of course I don’t suppose you can ever rule out the possibility that it might happen because the transfer window in Europe is still open until the end of the month – but it is not something which I am going to worry about because it is something that I really cannot affect.”
Asked what Zaha’s attitude had been like since his return, Hodgson replied: “It has been good, very good.”
Palace will be boosted by the return of defender Jeffrey Schlupp after his ankle problem for Sunday’s game at Sheffield United.
“It is a fine piece of news,” Hodgson told reporters.
“It is good to have an extra player and it’s good to have a big squad, much better than it was in pre-season.”
Summer signings Gary Cahill, Victor Camarasa and James McCarthy should also be involved, having built up some match fitness with the Under-23s at the start of the week.
“All these people we were waiting on are (now) getting training minutes behind them,” Hodgson said.
“We aren’t as well covered at the back as we are in midfield and up front, but at least we are getting there now.
“The squad is beginning to look a bit more like it should and I am getting the options which we all as managers like to have.”
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