Zaha affected by back injury in Palace's draw with Newcastle – Hodgson

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The winger delivered a muted display at Selhurst Park following a week in which his comments drew plenty of media attention

Wilfried Zaha has a back injury and that contributed to an unusually quiet performance against Newcastle United, says Roy Hodgson.

Zaha could be seen feeling his back in the pre-match warm-up, but was still named in the Palace XI for Saturday's Premier League match.

But, having been Palace's match-winner with a special strike at Huddersfield Town last time out, Zaha was muted in a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park.

The forward suggested this week he would have to sustain a broken leg in a tackle for an opponent to be sent off, with Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez criticising his comments.

Hodgson confirmed Zaha was fit to play, but suggested the injury had a negative impact on his performance.

"I think he is feeling something at the top of his back," said the former England manager. 

"He was passed fit by the doctor and physio and had no desire not to play the game. I am hoping it won't cause him problems in the week. Nothing really to report.

"He was quieter. I don't know if his comments affected him. He isn't in front of the mass media, but I don't think he expected his comments to be treated the way they were. It was his lament. I don't think he expected the world and its sister to have a view.

"We expect something from him every time he gets the ball, but maybe he was a bit quieter than normal. Maybe that [injury] affected him too.

"When he wants to play the game and is declared fit, I want him to play, because he is such a match-winner."

Speaking before the game, Hodgson had also discussed Zaha's comments from earlier in the week, commenting: “Wilf is a person who has a strong sense of justice.

“Like all players with exceptional ability, they need to be looked after that extra bit. The public pay their money really to see the artists, not necessarily the artisans.

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“Wilf is mature enough to know fouls are part of the business but we all hope our best players will be protected.

"He gave an honest answer which came from the heart and was obviously boiling up inside him. And now he knows what he has got to do. The best way to answer criticism, the best way to deal with people who are trying to stop you unfairly is to punish them by using your skill, beating them and scoring goals.”


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