Hodgson defends Wilfried Zaha following outburst about rough treatment

Roy Hodgson has supported Wilfried Zaha in his pursuit of greater protection – but Crystal Palace have no intention of making an official complaint to help his cause. After last week’s 1-0 victory at Huddersfield, in which he scored but was again fouled, this time by Mathias Jorgensen, Zaha said: “I’d have to get my leg broken for anyone to get a card. That’s why I lose my head. Why am I getting different treatment from other players?”

Gary Lineker said that he should take the intense attention he receives as a “compliment”, but the incident was the latest in which he appears to have been targeted. Watford’s Etienne Capoue had already been accused by Graeme Souness of trying to “nail” Zaha in a fixture earlier this season.

That he has already been fouled 11 times since it began has contributed to concerns about the treatment he receives, but Palace will regardless resist contacting Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to demand greater protection for their most influential player. “People are entitled to say what they think, if it is heartfelt and honest,” said Hodgson. “It is the person making the comment who has to stand for that, and I don’t think it is for others to chip in and make comments about it.

“He said what he had to say and he has no reason to apologise for that. We want to move on from there. Let’s hope that he will survive the coming matches in the way he wants to. Our chances are better with him in the team. “After every game, clubs are asked to comment and send in a report on the game. I’m pretty certain we did that, as we do after every game. But there’s been no specific contact with the Premier League or Mike Riley and his people at all. I see no reason for that. We’ve not made any overtures to the Premier League or the PGMOL.”

The 25-year-old Zaha is expected to again be prominent when Palace host Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday.

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