Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson defends Zaha amid diving claims

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The Cote d'Ivoire international was, again, accused of trying to con the referee against Watford on Saturday; one which earned him a booking

In light of the latest diving saga surrounding Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha, coach Roy Hodgson has come to the defence of the skillful winger.

Last time out with the Eagles, Zaha's was yellow carded after going down under a challenge from Watford defender Adrian Mariappa.

The card was his fourth for simulation since the start of the 2015-16 campaign; more than any player in the division within that period.

But Hodgson believes that as opposed to diving claims, the player's quick and daring style of play does less to help him in contentious situations.

"I have no doubts in my own mind about him as a player and his honesty and desire to score goals and play the game properly," Hodgson told Sky Sports.

"He's a great runner with the ball, he's very brave, he takes people on and he goes into areas where there are bodies and it hurts players to go in.

"As a result, those players, unfortunately, are always the ones who get accused of cheating because they get fouled and people want to discuss 'was it a foul or was it not a foul?'."

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The English tactician then went ahead to praise the former Manchester United man's bravery to constantly embark on risky forays into oppositions' area.

"Players with that level of dribbling ability and that bravery to go in constantly and take people on in the penalty box and risk the fouls and risk the kicks are worth their weight in gold."

Zaha has been Palace's most influential player this season with his seven goals and overall contributions in 26 top-flight games helping them overcome several slumps in the ongoing campaign. Saturday's draw saw them move to 15th in the log with six points away from the relegation zone.

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