Roy Hodgson labelled Mamadou Sakho a “quality centre-back” and said his performance against Huddersfield last night was “excellent”.
Crystal Palace earned a clean sheet in Sakho’s first game since he signed permanently for £26million on transfer deadline day from Liverpool.
The 27-year-old has been out of action with a ligament injury he picked up in April, while on loan from Liverpool, but he returned last night to help Palace to a 1-0 win, while Liverpool were going down 2-0 at Leicester.
And with the Anfield club crying out for an international-class centre-back, having failed to land Virgil van Dijk in the summer, Sakho was putting in a sterling first performance for five months.
Hodgson said: “He was excellent, considering it was his first game [since rejoining the club and returning from injury].
“He hasn’t been able to train as much as he would like. We were worried about his level of fitness, to play 90 minutes against another Premier League team; we were surprised he lasted as long as he did and he probably could have lasted longer.
“It wasn’t Mamadou who was desperate to come off and he wasn’t cramping up or slowing down, but as a precaution we thought we’ve done well here, we’ve had 70 minutes, we won’t take a chance and with Damien Delaney on the bench we have a safe pair of feet to go in and help us out.”
Asked if the defender would be ready to start against Man City, Hodgson replied: “Yeah I think he will. We’ve got three more days but he will certainly be very much in contention because he is a quality centre-back, there is no doubt about that.”