Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Crystal Palace's trip to Southampton, Roy Hodgson said he is 'impressed' with the Saints and drew upon his experience managing Danny Ings to praise the in-form forward.
Hodgson spoke barely half an hour after Southampton had overcome fourth-place Chelsea 2-0 - their second win in a row - and, after seeing the result, the Palace manager said he was not caught off-guard by the outcome of the match.
"I’m impressed by that," he said. "But I’m not surprised, to be fair. They’re a good team with good players. They’re organised. They’re not a team you expect to see in and around the relegation zone if we’re to be honest. So it’s not a major surprise to me but of course I take my hat off to them and congratulate them on this run of games which has lifted them so high up the table."
Focusing in on one man in particular, Ings, Hodgson expressed his long-standing admiration for the Southampton striker who has bagged seven goals from his last eight appearances.
It was Hodgson who handed Ings his first and currently only game in an England shirt, when the former Three Lions manager brought the forward on against Lithuania in place of Harry Kane.
Hodgson said: "I’ve always admired Danny Ings as a player. He is what you’d call a natural goalscorer. His movement in and around the penalty area is very good. When a chance comes his way, he’s got the technique to take the chance and, added to that, he’s a hard worker.
"So what got him selected for England and the game he played in Lithuania, those qualities we admired and very, very unluckily of course he picked up that nasty injury very soon after the Lithuania game and that ruled him out for a number of months to come."
You can watch Hodgson's pre-Saints press conference now via Palace TV. To do so, either click here or 'Palace TV' within the app.