Xenia Sports – London
Roy Hodgson believes Wilfried Zaha’s new “selfish” streak has helped the Crystal Palace forward boost his Selhurst Park goal tally.
Zaha has already fired seven goals in 12 Premier League matches this term, while he could muster just four in the entirety of last season.
And Palace boss Hodgson has hailed the Ivory Coast star for honing in on the most important elements of his craft in order to rise up the scoring charts.
“I think Wilf has come to the conclusion that if he’s going to score more goals he needs to be a bit more selfish, he needs to be a bit more focused on just that aspect of the game,” said Hodgson.
“And maybe that impacts on the amount of dribbling he’s had.
“But the fact is we have a guy we rate very, very highly, we appreciate all of his skills, not least his dribbling skills.
“And I think as the years go by with the experience he gets, the more games he gets under his belt, the more he realises what are the most important things for him to do to advance his career, we’re seeing a better and better player.”
Palace will head to West Ham on Wednesday night seeking to build on a run of three wins and a draw in their last seven league matches.
Goalkeeper Vicente Guaita pulled off a string of fine saves in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with league leaders Tottenham but was also at fault for Harry Kane’s strike.
Eagles boss Hodgson insisted he has never doubted Guaita’s class in light of that solitary error, with the 33-year-old still the club’s number one keeper.
“He’s been consistently good throughout my time at the club,” said Hodgson.
“I’m afraid all goalkeepers are going to get a situation where the ball does something unusual like the Kane shot that swerved past him.
“But he’s certainly made up for that many, many times over.
“His performances in my time at the club have been very, very consistent, so I’ve never felt we need to question his ability or his place in the team.”