Roy Hodgson does not envy successor’s role in trying to keep Wilfried Zaha

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Roy Hodgson admits he does not envy his Crystal Palace successor over the club’s expected summer battle to keep Wilfried Zaha.

Hodgson said in February that Zaha harboured ambitions of playing Champions League football, and Palace’s determination to retain their top goalscorer looks set to be tested again.

Zaha turns 29 in November and it remains to be seen whether Palace’s final Premier League game of the season at Liverpool on Sunday will be his last appearance for the Eagles.

“If I was going to be continuing at this club as manager I’d definitely want to be doing that with Wilf Zaha,” said Hodgson, who will be taking charge of Palace for the 162nd and final time at Anfield.

“He’s been fantastic in the period of time I’ve been at the club and is still such a vital player for us.

“I don’t think there’s any particular desire for the club to lose Wilf. But the club are realistic and they know also that Wilf has ambitions of his own.

“Maybe he will be less keen to stay than we are to keep him.

“But if that is something that rears its head and, there is a club coming to steal Wilf from us, that will be a situation the club will have to deal with.

“I don’t envy the club or the new manager that problem, but I hope that – now as a fan of the club rather than an employee – Wilf will stay because he still has so much to offer.”

Palace head to Liverpool with a lengthy absentee list, which includes Eberechi Eze and Luka Milivojevic, and a fitness concern over in-form ex-Liverpool striker Christian Benteke.

Liverpool know victory should secure Champions League football next season, and Jurgen Klopp’s side won the corresponding fixture at Selhurst Park in December 7-0.

Hodgson said: “We’re still reeling from the last game when we taken apart by them.

“We’ve got to try and mobilise enough strength and enough power, determination, desire and pride in our performance to make sure we don’t succumb on this occasion to a heavy defeat.

“But I don’t think that defeat was down to things that we did terminally wrong.

“We were actually on the back end of one of those days when so much went right for them.

“Revenge is not the right word because it would be hard to get that, but we certainly don’t want to find ourselves in a similar position.”

Hodgson began his managerial career with Halmstad in Sweden in 1976.

The 73-year-old counts spells in Denmark, Switzerland and Italy, as well as at the likes of Blackburn, Fulham and Liverpool, before being appointed England manager in 2012.

But if this is to be Hodgson’s last job in management, it will end at the club he supported as a boy growing up in Croydon.

“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,” Hodgson said.

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

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