Crystal Palace scraped through to the third round of the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 win over Championship side Swansea City in midweek as Roy Hodgson gave a run out to a number of fringe players, and the Palace manager admitted after the game that he was impressed with the performance of Jason Puncheon.
The midfielder has been linked with a move away from Selhurst Park this summer, with Middlesbrough reportedly interested in the 32-year-old, but Hodgson insists that Puncheon did enough to impress him during the win against Swansea.
The Eagles boss suggested that Puncheon’s efforts were enough to improve his chances of further playing time this season, as he said of the Palace midfielder in his post-match press conference: “He did very well. His state of mind is fine, he is a professional, so there is no problem there.
“Of course, he wants to play more and I have made it clear to him I can’t guarantee that. In the middle of the park that is where we are, at the moment, very competitive with competition for places.
“But I thought his performance certainly improved his chances of playing, and it is up to him to some extent.
“If he insists on playing week in week out, he knows I can’t guarantee that, but you saw that he is still a very good player, and I thought he was important to us in our victory.”
Hodgson’s comments on competition for places in midfield for Palace have been in clear evidence so far this season, as new signings Max Meyer and Cheikhou Kouyate have both failed to start in any of Palace’s three league games this season.
Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur have retained their places as Hodgson’s first choice central midfield pairing so far in the league, with Meyer and Kouyate paired together for their first starts of the season in the cup win over Swansea. Puncheon played ahead of the new pair and captained Palace on the night.