Football

Roy Hodgson: Wilfried Zaha entitled to make referee comments

Roy Hodgson has offered his support to Wilfried Zaha after the Crystal Palace forward spoke out demanding greater protection from referees.

The Ivory Coast international expressed his frustration at the treatment he receives from the opposition and claimed he would have to “get his leg broken” for a referee to produce a red card.

Hodgson says Zaha was entitled to say how he felt and has no reason to apologise for the comments he made following Palace’s win over Huddersfield.

“People are entitled to say what they feel sometimes,” said Hodgson, ahead of Palace’s game against Newcastle on Saturday.

“I don’t think we should be in such a rush to criticise someone for coming out and saying something heartfelt and an honest comment.

“But of course in all of these things, it’s the player himself making the comment who has to stand for that. I don’t think it’s right for other people to chip in, who are connected to him in any way, to make too many comments about it.

“We are very supportive of him in everything. He said what he had to say, he has no reason to apologise for that, heartfelt and something which he thinks has happened to him and now he and the rest of us, we want to move on from there and let’s hope he will survive the coming matches in the way he wants to.”

Hodgson says Crystal Palace have not contacted the Premier League or the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) specifically over Zaha’s treatment.

“I think that was quite simply that after every game that clubs are asked to comment and asked to send a report after every game. There has been no specific contact with the Premier League, Mike Riley and his people, I see no reason for that,” Hodgson added.

“That’s a situation which is in the past and I absolutely have no comments to make about the referees and we certainly, from a coaching point of view, have not made any overtures to the Premier League or the PGMOL.”

Sky Sports News reports Premier League match officials will not change the way they referee incidents involving Zaha, despite his passionate plea for protection.

Meanwhile, Magpies boss Rafa Benitez says he was “surprised” by Zaha’s comments and has called for the FA to review them.

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