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First Team

Hodgson recalls conversation on Riedewald's new position

16 January 2020

Speaking following Jairo Riedewald's Man of the Match winning performance against Arsenal on Saturday, Palace manager Roy Hodgson recalled his conversation with the makeshift fullback on his recent positional change.

The Dutchman has been drafted in lately to replace countryman Patrick van Aanholt at left-back, a position the No.44 is not accustomed to.

But Hodgson has revealed that he could see Riedewald's potential in the back four and that he spoke with the 23-year-old about his feelings on making the switch in advance of the injury crisis.

"We don’t have any natural left-back cover and we don’t have any natural right-back cover," the manager recalled, "and I knew that I was going into a season with two good fullbacks - right and left - but if either of them got injured, it was a different story.

"Turns out of course both get injured and both get injured at the same time. I remember talking to Jairo, saying: ‘Don’t you think you could play left-back?’ He was very reticent about that, virtually saying: ‘No, I don’t think I can. I won’t be able to do that job.’"

However, since shifting back to the left side of defence, Riedewald has earned plaudits from fans and his manager alike, with his confidence on the ball and ability to carry it forward standing out.

Since early December, when Riedewald received his first league start of the season, Hodgson has been able to reflect on the change with his stand-in left-back.

He said: "I actually said to him the other day: ‘I did tell you, I knew you could do that job.’ We’ve always known there’s a very good footballer there but we’ve not been able to find a place for him or a home for him in the team. Now we’ve found a home for him and he’s playing on a regular basis, and with every game I think he gets better.

"I’m delighted with him but I’m also delighted for him, because he’s been a model professional for the last two and a half seasons. He’s always training, always doing his job properly, never complaining.

"He's disappointed of course that the coach - i.e. me - doesn’t play him in the team, he’s entitled to be disappointed. But he’s fully understanding of the fact that I have a choice to make and that choice has gone elsewhere, so I’ll get on with my job. Hats off to him."

You can watch Jairo and his teammates in action next Tuesday by grabbing tickets for Palace's game with Southampton here. Alternatively, make it a day to remember with one of our unforgettable Premium packages.

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