Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha does not dive, says manager Roy Hodgson
Last Updated: 26/04/18 5:13pm
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson says Wilfried Zaha does not dive and forwards with his talent are "worth their weight in gold".
Zaha has defended himself after receiving a yellow card for diving in last Saturday's goalless draw at Watford.
The forward hit out at his reputation as a diver in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, having received four yellow cards for simulation since the start of the 2015-16 season - more than any other player in that period.
And Hodgson says the Ivory Coast international's attacking threat, with his willingness to run at opponents, means he is scrutinised more than other players.
"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 said.
"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?'."
Hodgson compared Zaha's treatment with similar criticism of Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Tottenham's Dele Alli.
"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," the Palace boss added.
Hodgson's team are unbeaten in three games and play Leicester on Saturday knowing three points at Selhurst Park should be enough to see them stay up, but Hodgson is not taking safety for granted.
"38 points would seem to me to be quite a good total this year, with so many teams not close to that," said Hodgson.
"But it's going to take more than three points to make sure we are mathematically safe.
"As far as we're concerned it's a question of trying to make certain - win each of the three matches available and take no chances."