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Roy Hodgson: 'Crystal Palace have always believed in Wilfried Zaha'

Roy Hodgson: 'Crystal Palace have always believed in Wilfried Zaha'
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He has scored five goals in eight appearances for Palace this season.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes Wilfried Zaha is attracting more attention because he is scoring goals but insists the player's role in the side has not changed dramatically.

The 28-year-old has scored five times in eight appearances this season – a better return already than in all-but three of his 10 top-flight campaigns – and is well on course to eclipse his previous best of 10 in 2018-19.

Zaha, who also has two assists to his name, has been playing more centrally for Palace but Hodgson does not think he is doing much different to previous years.

"I think that is probably a little it harsh on what he has been doing for the past three and bit years," said the Eagles boss when asked whether the Ivory Coast international was enjoying a renaissance as a second striker ahead of Monday's trip to Burnley.

"He has been playing up front for us in some sort of forward position for all of that period, we've never played him as an out-and-out winger.

"I'm not sure how his role has changed, he spent virtually all of my first season playing up front with Andros Townsend.

"He has always been dangerous and the major difference this year, which is attracting attention, is he has scored five goals and has two assists, whereas in the past he has helped swing games but not been on the scoresheet.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Molineux
Wilfried Zaha (left), pictured in action against Wolves defender Max Kilman, has five goals and two assists already this season.

"I don't read as much into the second striker role as much as people are assuming. We've always wanted to use his skills as a forward.

"Our aim with Wilf is to get him up the field, facing the goal and using all the skills he has, nothing more complicated than that.

"He is definitely more focused on scoring goals, which is more important for him and us.

"We have believed in his ability to score goals and this season he believes in it more and wants to do more than he has in the past.

"But the point about Zaha is well made, he is in very good form at the moment, playing very well and I am pretty sure Burnley will be aware of that and be working hard to stop him."

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