Written by Jim Daly

Roy Hodgson loves Jairo Riedewald. That's not a sentence we ever thought we'd be saying but after pretty much being forced into playing the young Dutchman against Burnley, the Crystal Palace boss was pleased with what he saw.

Injuries to Yohan Cabaye, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jason Puncheon meant Roy had to go with the 21-year-old Jairo alongside Luka Milivojevic. And it was a gamble that paid off as the young Dutchman was superb despite not having played much at all since arriving in the summer

In fact it was just his third league start for Palace since arriving from Ajax for £7m in the summer; a player Frank de Boer pleased with the Eagles hierarchy to sign.

And now it seems, the club is starting to reap the rrewards of probably the only thing Frank got right during his short stint at Selhurst. After an imperious display in the middle of the park Hodgson sang Riedewald's praises. "He's a quality player there's no doubt about that," he said.

"We had not been 100% convinced because we have not seen that much of him really. Can he handle matches like this, can he handle the cut and thrust, can he handle the somewhat uglier side of the game where you've got to win tackles, run around a lot, chase people and get a foot in and sometimes get to the ball first and clear it.

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"Compared to an Ajax game where you're totally dominating 90% of possession you're never in that position. All you're doing is picking your passes. I thought he got that absolutely right today, he and Luka were very very important duo in that centre of the midfield and they were well supported by McArthur who once again had an exception game.

"So I'm very pleased for Jairo, we've never doubted him in terms of his paying ability, the only question mark we had was can you deal with the Burnleys of the world? Can you deal with it when the ball going over your head and you've got to spin round and win a knock-down, can you make the right decision and not put them on the attack because you've tried to pass your way out of trouble and I think he comes out of that today

"If I say to him on Monday 'right how do you think you did?' I'd be very surprised if he didn't say to me 'I did what you asked, I did exactly that.'"


 

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