Hodgson never expected to become Premier League’s oldest manager

Roy Hodgson admitted he did not expect to become the Premier League’s oldest manager when he returned to English football in 2007.

At 71 years and 198 days, Hodgson surpassed the record previously held by Bobby Robson as Crystal Palace eased to a 4-1 victory over Leicester City on Saturday.

After building an impressive resume overseas – apart from a brief spell with Blackburn Rovers in 1997-98 – Hodgson returned to England 12 years ago with Fulham.

He went on to manage Liverpool, West Brom and England before agreeing to join Palace in September 2017 – the club he supported as a boy.

“It’s quite strange that I was contemplating doing something else when I came back to England in 2007 and these last 11 [12] years have been a highlight of my career,” he told BBC Sport.

“The important thing for me now is that I look after myself physically. I don’t allow myself to give up and stay in the shape you need to be in to do this job.”

Saturday’s victory at the King Power Stadium moved the Eagles six points clear of the relegation zone, and Hodgson is confident his squad will not get dragged back into trouble.

“As far as we’re concerned, we know there are 11 matches left to play,” he told his post-match media conference.

“We’re on a good run of form with two very tough matches coming up against Man United and Burnley but this victory will give us a lot of heart and what’s more, all the points you’ve got no one can take away and we’re getting closer if you like to that magical number of 40 that we all keep at the back of our minds.

“With the 11 matches we’ve got and the players that we’ve got to use to get the points, I’ve got to be confident that we’ll do it.

“If we’re capable of coming to a team like Leicester and getting a win, if we’re capable of getting a win at Manchester CIty, if we’re capable of doing that then I’ve got to believe in this team and got to believe that somewhere along the line, those points we need will come.”

Two goals from Wilfried Zaha, a penalty from Luka Milivojevic and Michy Batshuayi’s first since his loan move from Chelsea secured the win over Leicester.

Zaha and Batshuayi particularly impressed Hodgson, with the loanee already showing why Palace were keen to add him to their squad.

“He’s looking very lively,” added the 71-year-old. “We think that he’s doing what we would like him to do and showing all the signs we expected from him in terms of being a goalscorer.

“His performance today was really, really good in every respect. Not just offensively, it was a good performance defensively because we blocked off a lot of the passes into the centre of midfield. He dropped deep and made it difficult for them.”

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