On the eve of the 2018/19 season, Roy Hodgson put pen to paper on a new contract that will see him lead the Eagles through the next two seasons. After celebrating his 71st birthday yesterday, Roy was asked during the press conference whether he still possessed the same desire and hunger that he has become renowned for through his distinguished managerial career.
Hodgson said: “I think so, and I presume the club must think so as well because they must make judgements every day in their dealings with me. I presume their interest in me signing a new contract would suggest to me they don’t have any doubts or fears in that department.
“Age is of course a number and I really don’t feel any different to how I felt even 20 years ago, let alone 10 years and some days I must say I feel even better. It is a question of confidence in terms of being able to do the job, I have never doubted that and luckily for me neither do Crystal Palace."
It is a certainty that his experience will be called upon many times during a season that is sure to provide him with challenges along the way, but he is the first to admit that as the the years have gone by the many changes he has witnessed have benefitted his ability to keep learning and improving.
“One of the things that experience might teach you is not to do it all alone, not to ignore a lot of the very good advice and the knowledge that is around the football club. If I talk to people who have had similar careers to myself we have all seen how the rise of sports science, and how the enormous amount of information that comes our way now can help us plan training sessions, keep players fitter and in better shape. They are examples of things which I have seen develop and I have been keen to embrace.
“Experience is a strange thing because sometimes decisions in football are very much a day to day and even an hour to hour situation and you can’t prepare for every situation you are going to face because new things are coming up all the time, as matches are never the same. A lot of decisions have to be made on the spur of the moment and I presume experience helps you at times but you are not really aware of it until the situations occur and if you are lucky and the decision has turned out to be the right one, then you can think back and say at least I didn’t do my first thought there because my experience taught me to be careful and do something else.
“I think most of us who can call ourselves experienced don’t know when our experience is doing us good or not because we just try and do the job properly and the best we can.”
Hodgson led his Palace side to mid-table safety last season, with only goal difference keeping the side from a top-ten finish - a remarkable turnaround from when he took the job four games into the campaign, with the side rooted to the bottom without a goal or point. A better start is understanably front of mind for Hodgson and his men.
“It is important because we know, more than most, what a bad start can bring. The fact is every manager being interviewed before the start of the season and not one will say it doesn’t matter if we get off to a good or bad start. We all want a good start but to be a winner there has got to be a loser so if we are getting off to a good one then there will be teams getting off to a bad start because that is the nature of the business. All you can do is ensure with your preparation that your team is in the best possible shape to play their first game, fully prepared both physically and mentally, be aware of the opposition and have all the tools at their disposal to make a good game of it. Then of course the beauty of football is that you don’t know what is going to happen after that.
“We feel we are ready and going into these opening games we have the wherewithal to get the victories and the points but of course only time will tell and we have to wait for the first 640 mins of the new season when I might be able to make a comparison to our start of last season!”
Watch the full press conference now or if you're viewing on the app, click Palace TV on the bottom menu.