Ahead of his return to the starting lineup, Roy Hodgson has compared winger Wilfried Zaha's impact to that of Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
Zaha is set to return to the starting lineup against fellow relegation battlers Huddersfield on Saturday in what looks to be a tough fixture for The Eagles. Hodgson clearly sees this return as an important one and he highlights Zaha's importance to the squad.
Quoted by the Mirror, Hodgson commented on the return of the Ivorian, saying: “It’s good to have him back, and we’re hoping he’ll start where he left off: when he got injured six weeks ago now he was playing very well, we hope he’s going to hit the ground running and do the same for us again."
He then went onto his comparison of Zaha to Messi, explaining: “He has the exceptional ability to run with the ball and beat people. Those type of players are very important as we saw in the Chelsea-Barcelona game and Lionel Messi. If Messi hadn’t played it could have been a totally different result.
“We don’t get as many points when he’s not playing, and don’t score as many goals. Obviously we miss him in that respect, so it will be very good to get him back on the field.”
Hodgson mentioned others returning from injury, including Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mamadou Sakho and Yohan Cabaye, who are all set to be involved this weekend - adding: “We are talking here about four quality players – players who really are capable of playing in every Premier League team and would interest almost every Premier League team.
“All four are definitely available and I have to pick what I think is the best starting XI from this group - something I haven’t been able to do for a long period of time.”
The return of these players could not have come at a better time for Palace, with the game against Huddersfield being vital for the upcoming relegation scrap as we near the business end of the Premier League season.
Only four points separate the two sides, so Palace will need a win to reduce the gap between them and the Terriers.