‘There won’t be any panic from Roy and Lew’ – Ex-Palace coach Dave Reddington on Hodgson’s second spell in Selhurst Park hotseat
BY EDMUND BRACK
Roy Hodgson will take charge of a Crystal Palace side for the first time in 678 days when he leads the side out at Selhurst Park against Leicester City tomorrow.
The Eagles have asked the 75-year-old to come out of retirement to help rescue a side without a win in 2023 and just three points above the relegation zone heading into the final 10 games of the Premier League season.
Hodgson – and his long-serving assistant Ray Lewington – have been called back to the South Londoners after Patrick Vieira was sacked by Palace prior to the trip to league leaders Arsenal.
Dave Reddington joined Palace in 2004 and held various roles within the club’s academy over two separate spells before being promoted to join Hodgson’s first-team coaching staff in 2018.
Alongside Hodgson, Lewington, and goalkeeper coach Dean Kiely, the quartet kept the Eagles in the Premier League for three seasons – plus the season before Reddington was moved up to the first team – on a limited budget.
Speaking to the South London Press about Hodgson’s return to the Crystal Palace dugout, Reddington said: “It’s a really good call from the club. It’s a situation where many of the players will know Roy. They will understand how he works, and the newer players will understand that quickly.
“There will be an environment of respect both ways from the players and staff. The training ground will improve, and from that, hopefully, performances will come off the back of it.
“They need to get the situation going quickly. Within that, the experience between those two (Hodgson and Lewington) means they have got a big opportunity to get this right.
“They’re very respectful. They respect the players, and the players return that. If there is a situation, they listen to the players. It’s not a ‘do this’ culture – it’s more of an ‘I think’ environment.
“The players respond to that. During my time, we had a lot of senior players and that helped senior players to voice their opinion and talk about situations.
“The respect thing is really important – they treat everyone with it.”
Paddy McCarthy, who took charge of the trip to north London to play Arsenal, has been promoted from U21 manager and was named as Hodgson’s assistant, with Lewington taking on the role of first-team coach.
“Paddy has more experience in senior football than I did at the time,” explained Reddington, who also made the jump across the road at Copers Cope from the academy to the first-team building. “But as a coach, it’s completely different.
“People won’t even realise, but when you’re doing a session, the size of an area might be too small. These players are experts, and they will correct you as soon as they walk into an area.
“It’s the bits you have to learn, and quickly. Paddy will be fine. He’s an intelligent guy and has some good experience in his coaching as well.
“The biggest thing will be the jump from coaching a naive academy player to an experienced first-team player. You’re only allowed a certain number of mistakes before the players get on you.”
Eight of Palace’s remaining 10 games are against sides who are also immersed in the fight to stay in the Premier League, with clashes against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Southampton and Leeds all to come.
But former England manager Hodgson is inheriting a squad devoid of attacking confidence, having recently become the first Premier League side on record to fail to register a shot on target in three consecutive outings.
This is also an entirely different side to the one Hodgson ended his Palace tenure with.
Experienced defenders such as Scott Dann, Martin Kelly and Gary Cahill are gone. And midfielders with a safety-first approach, like Cheikhou Kouyate and James McCarthy, have also been replaced.
“What they will do first and foremost is make sure the environment is right – that’s the training ground,” explained Reddington, who is now assistant head coach of Danish side Aarhus after leaving Palace at the end of the 2020-21 season.
“Their biggest skill is making sure the training ground runs well. If the training ground runs well, then the work that you do on the training ground comes out on the pitch. It puts smiles on players’ faces, and when they want to come into work, all of a sudden, things start to change.
“On a matchday, they have been there and seen it, so it will be very calm – there won’t be a panic. With the structure of how Roy plays to fall back on, it will get solid quickly and then they can be offensive in their transitions.”
The Eagles now boast the talent of Odsonne Edouard, Michael Olise, Joachim Andersen, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Cheick Doucoure and Marc Guehi. But there are a number of players from Hodgson’s last season still with the club – Vicente Guaita, Joel Ward, Nathaniel Clyne, Tyrick Mitchell, James Tomkins, James McArthur, Jordan Ayew, Eberechi Eze and Wilfried Zaha.
Reddington said: “They are delighted. The previous squad was experienced, and sometimes that experience stopped us from getting into situations where we were looking over our shoulders – it was vital. Roy and Ray will be the first to admit that. But, having spoken with them, they’re both very pleased with what they have seen and are both excited with what they have had to work with so far on the training ground.
“They’re looking forward to the games.”
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