Roy Hodgson backs Eberechi Eze to recover from injury and have ‘bright future’

Roy Hodgson has promised Eberechi Eze has a “bright future” after revealing he has spoken to the Crystal Palace playmaker in length since his serious Achilles injury.

Eze has been one of the standout performers of Hodgson’s final season in charge at Selhurst Park, but the 22-year-old faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a training-ground injury earlier this week.

“I had a long chat with him this morning,” Hodgson said ahead of his Palace farewell at former club Liverpool on Sunday.

“We were concerned of course when that (injury) happens after such a good season, a first season.

“The world couldn’t have been better or rosier when that injury occurred. One is then concerned that is going to have a catastrophic effect on the player himself.

“But I’ve been very impressed by his resilience and mental approach to the subject.

“He will recover and will recover quicker than is normally possible to recover. In the meantime he’s going to have to accept that these tests of his mental capacity are part and parcel of football.

“He’s learnt so early on and he has got a bright future, this young man. He will get over it and come back stronger.”

Hodgson was given a guard of honour by both Palace and Arsenal teams on Wednesday after it was announced the previous day that he is to step down as Eagles manager after nearly four years at Selhurst Park.

The 73-year-old takes his final bow at former club Liverpool with the fourth-placed Reds aiming to secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.

“We might not get out of Anfield if we win, that could be the only problem,” Hodgson said ahead of the Premier League game.

“We might be locked in the dressing room for a good while. But we are an honest bunch here, there’s no doubting that.

“I don’t know if we can be good enough to go up to Anfield and win, but I do know that whatever 11 players put that Crystal Palace shirt on they will be busting a gut to win.”

Hodgson admitted that Sunday will be an emotional day for him after a career that has seen him spend more than 45 years coaching.

The former England boss started out as a manager in 1976 with Halmstad in Sweden, and has overseen top-flight stability at his boyhood club since taking over Palace in September 2017.

He said: “There have been so many touching gestures that I have experienced these last couple of days.

“There’s no doubt that my departure from Crystal Palace, the way it’s been handled and the way people have reacted to it, will live very long in the memory.

“I could not have expected it to be as good as it’s been, I’ve been humbled by it.

“It’s nice to know when you step aside from Palace after four years, and maybe even step aside from football after 45-and-a-half years, that you’ve been appreciated for what you’ve done in the game. I’m really proud of that.”