The most important thing is that Roy Hodgson is recovering well. ‘I feel better now’ was the encouraging message he received sport mail over the weekend after a worrying episode in which the esteemed coach is likely to finally hang up the stopwatch and whistle.
So there is some discomfort about Crystal Palace preparing for life without their manager while he overcomes a health scare. But, as inappropriate as it may seem, football continues.
Hodgson knows this better than anyone. Those who have foolishly dismissed the former England manager as a “dinosaur” fail to appreciate how he has continued to reinvent himself to remain relevant for almost half a century.
However, those who have criticized Palace for preparing to appoint Oliver Glasner as Hodgson’s replacement are probably jumping the gun a bit. The Glasner appointment process was underway before Hodgson collapsed in front of his players and staff during training on Friday.
Reports that Palace had agreed a deal with Glasner hours after the Hodgson scare were met with disdain at Selhurst Park. ‘Disrespectful. “Roy is still in the hospital,” a Palace official said as news of Glasner’s impending appointment gained momentum.
Roy Hodgson recovering well after falling ill during training at Crystal Palace
Palace began the appointment process of Oliver Glasner in the face of Hodgson’s worrying collapse
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But Palace cannot deny that a decision on Hodgson’s future was close to being made before the concerns over his health. He was expected to be replaced after Monday’s Premier League clash against Everton.
There is nothing wrong in it. Football clubs must preserve their future. It is possible to be respectful of a man woven into Palace’s recent history and also prepare for what is to come. There is a line that must be walked in terms of sensitivity to such an unusual situation. But Palace has attempted to control the narrative of his next appointment.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Glasner will take the reins after signing a two-and-a-half-year contract. The 49-year-old coach’s immediate task will be to ensure the club’s survival. Everton, who are in the relegation zone, would move within two points of Palace with a win at Goodison Park.
However, Everton manager Sean Dyche sees the bigger picture. “I wish Roy the best,” he said. “He is a great guy who I respect a lot. It is an important game for us, but more important than the game is Roy’s health and I hope he gets through this without problems.”
Glasner will have to lead Palace to safety without the team’s most potent attacking player, with Michael Olise suffering a long-term hamstring injury, although key duo Eberechi Eze (hamstring) and Marc Guehi (knee) ) are close to returning. Cheick Doucoure (knee) is also unavailable.
Hodgson is likely to hang up the stopwatch and whistle after his episode, but he is recovering.
Palace (pictured: chairman Steve Parish) were expected to replace Hodgson in the near future.
Indeed, the club’s injury problems are understood to have made other candidates hesitant about succeeding Hodgson in recent weeks.
How Glasner approaches the issue will, perhaps, be the deciding factor in how the former Eintracht Frankfurt boss fares at the start of his reign. But if he can weather the storm and lead Palace to safety, he will be expected to implement a style of football that meets fans’ calls for more entertainment.
Hodgson has done wonders to preserve Palace’s top-flight status over two separate spells, but some fans feel there is plenty of attacking potential to unlock.
Glasner will be expected to replicate Hodgson’s success in keeping Palace in the Premier League, but he will be asked to do so with swagger.
The financial benefits of Glasner fulfilling those ambitions are clear. The millions earned over 10 consecutive years in the Premier League have left the club on a solid footing. But Palace are still a selling club and need their squad set up in a way that allows their players to showcase their talents to the highest bidder.
For example, the club’s star summer signing Matheus Franca, who will cost up to £26 million, has barely played this season, meaning his market value has plummeted. Clubs like Palace cannot afford such failures in the transfer market.
Glasner will have to deal with Palace’s injury crisis with his first target ensuring his safety.
What Glasner brings is a track record of improving players to sell.
During his time at Eintracht Frankfurt, the manager signed Randal Kolo Muani from Nantes on a free transfer in the summer of 2022. The striker was sold to Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth £73m in September . In 2022, left winger Filip Kostic was sold to Juventus. Last year, attacking midfielder Jesper Lindstrom, coveted by several English teams, was signed by Napoli for £21.5 million.
Cynical as it may seem, that will appeal to Palace, although Glasner’s history of publicly calling out his superiors over transfer frustrations should cause caution in south London.
But the fact that Ajax, Marseille and Lyon all courted him over the summer is indicative of the kind of coup Palace believe they are about to pull off. His preference for playing 3-4-2-1 may come into question during the early stages of his reign; Palace’s team has been built with four defenders at the back.
Glasner will have to be adaptable in the short term as he weighs his options, while the prospect of Guehi’s future becoming an issue as he enters the final two years of his contract is another headache.
But there will be money to spend on players in the summer, a sum that could be supplemented by a high-profile exit. For Glasner, the thrills and spills of Premier League management will be hectic. If you need any guidance, the worst thing you could do is call Hodgson.