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First Team

Hodgson: Sørloth Was Our Top Target

2 February 2018

Roy Hodgson has had his first sight of Alexander Sørloth as the Norweigan's striker took part in his first training session. The boss has confirmed the number 9 will go straight into the matchday squad for Sunday’s match against Newcastle United.

Hodgson confirmed in his pre-Newcastle United press conference that the 6 foot 4 inch striker was the club's number one target in the January transfer window.

Hodgson said: “We hope he is going to be very good. We’ve been following him and he has been a target for the whole of the transfer window and our discussions before that, so we were very pleased to persuade FC Midtjylland to let him go. It wasn’t easy because he’s an important player for them but we are pleased they agreed to that and even more so now after the unfortunate injury to Bakary Sako which meant we were even lighter in that forward area.

“He was our first choice striker target and will certainly be involved in the squad this weekend. He is short of match practice because the season in Denmark is very different to ours but he’s fit and took part in the training session today, but obviously in terms of match fitness and games he’s a little bit behind the others.

“If you watched the session you wouldn’t be aware that there was a new guy out there, unless you knew who it was and of course he speaks perfect English so he won’t have any problems in that respect.”

Hodgson had the opportunity to get the views of those he knows well in Norwegian football - including the current national coach Lars Lagerback and former coach Per-Mathias Hogmo, both of whom were extremely positive of Palace's latest signing. 

“Lars was unbelievably positive in every respect and yesterday evening I had another very positive message from Per-Mathias Hogmo who also congratulated us on the signing as he thinks we have signed a very good player. We’ve watched Alexander a lot and we think we knew what we were signing when we approached Midtjylland to buy him but it’s also very good for me to be able to speak to Lars and get the text from Per-Mathias who both supported our view that this is a player who can do well in the Premier League.

“It was sufficient for me to watch the video tapes, to go on the advice of our scouts who had seen him play live. But then in particular [it was good to] to speak to someone I know and whose judgment in football I trust and ask him what he thought. I was expecting him to be slightly less 100% behind the thought than he was. He backed Alexander to be a big success in the Premier League, and that was enough for me."

The game against Newcastle may come too soon for the new striker as he is short of match fitness, but the boss believes the space in the upcoming fixture list will do him no harm as he prepares for life in the top flight. 

“Whenever a player changes club he needs time to adjust and we mustn't forget he hasn’t played competitive football since the end of November so he will need time for adjustment. But we’re fortunate that after the game on Sunday we have one more game the following Saturday, then a two week break. So he has a good month to get his feet under the table, unless of course we need to use him in those two games before that."

Watch clips of Sørloth's first training session now by clicking here, or if you are viewing on the club app go to Palace TV on the bottom menu.

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