Hodgson not surprised by Ngog
Roy Hodgson has revealed that he tried to sign David Ngog during his time in charge of Fulham.
Last Updated: 18/08/10 6:29pm
Roy Hodgson has revealed that he tried to sign David Ngog during his time in charge of Fulham so is not surprised by the striker's fine start to the season.
The Frenchman has had the opportunity to start games in the absence of Fernando Torres this term and has netted four goals in just three outings.
Ngog, whose latest strike was a thunderous effort against Arsenal in Liverpool's Premier League opener on Sunday, has drawn praise for his performances.
But Hodgson insists he has always been an admirer of Ngog and doubts whether the 21-year-old's contributions were always recognised when the goals were not flying in so regularly.
"I wouldn't say he has surprised me. He is performing pretty much in the way I thought he could and should perform," the Reds manager told a press conference at Anfield.
"In terms of judgement of front players, there's often a dual judgement - the judgement of the coach and the players who appreciate what he's doing, but if he's not scoring goals that won't be appreciated by other people such as fans and the mass media.
"I tried to loan him when I was at Fulham, but we were not allowed to because Liverpool didn't want to loan him out.
"We ended up taking Stefano Okaka from Roma, but when we were looking for some help up front we enquired about David Ngog and were told he wasn't available.
"So obviously I've always had some consideration for him."
Hodgson is refusing to set any goal targets for Ngog and has instead told the youngster just to build on what he has done so far and keep working hard.
"To get 20-25 goals a season you have to be playing in the region of 50-60 games," he said.
"In reality, I wouldn't want that at the moment because that would possibly mean Torres isn't playing a lot of games.
"I don't set targets for him in terms of number of goals, my target for him is to be good enough to play in the Liverpool first team so that if I decided just to play with one forward, he could do what he has been doing for us so far."
Torres replaced Ngog for the closing stages against the Gunners, having recovered from an adductor injury sustained in the World Cup final.
He is set to feature in the Europa League clash with Trabzonspor on Thursday, although Hodgson has promised not to take any risks with the Spaniard's fitness.
"The Sports Science people are concerned that we don't rush him back too early and that we don't prejudice his fitness or situation with the injury he took with him to the World Cup," he said.
"We don't want to prejudice anything by throwing him into the fray too early, but he is very, very keen to get back in.
"I thought he handled himself well in the 15 minutes he played against Arsenal, so I am hoping he will play a part in tomorrow night's game (against Trabzonspor) and then be ready for Manchester City."
Hodgson has also confirmed that Liverpool decided not to appeal the red card Joe Cole received in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal in case his automatic three-match ban was further extended by the Football Association.
He said: "In an ideal world you would have a case for an appeal on the basis of anyone looking at it would probably agree with me the decision to send him off was harsh.
"But of course, with the way the rules are set up and the way disciplinary committees deal with these matters, you have got very strict codes on which you can appeal.
"We were concerned if we appealed it might increase the ban, which would be even worse for us, so we decided not to."
He added: "It is disappointing. You want to start off flying and you hope at the start of a season you get all your players fit, well and ready to go, as well as the chance to bed them down into team.
"But these things happen in football. We are very disappointed for him, but on the other hand it was a brave and somewhat reckless challenge because the ball could have been allowed to be played down the line without him trying to block it and then there would have been no danger of him colliding with the player."