Crystal Palace v Newcastle: Roy Hodgson backs ‘football’s ‘dad’s army’ | Football | Sport


Palace’s boss goes against Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez today with a combined age of 127 years of experience standing on the touchline.

Both clubs are in desperate need of points, with Palace just three above the bottom three and Newcastle just one behind.

Former England boss Hodgson, 70, has worked wonders at Palace since taking over and believes his years honed managing clubs around the world has helped.

Same goes for Benitez. He said: “There is still room for experienced managers in football. We are experienced managers but we are also coaches as well.

“Newcastle’s success and the way Rafa managed to turn the club around is not just down to his managerial skills or his recruitment skills alone.

“I am sure it was also due to the fact he worked hard with the players in training and tried to get them to understand his ideas on team play in the same way we have done here.

“Experience can be an added bonus, but it is not purely down to experience that they have done well. It is also down to the fact they have a manager who works with the team and encourages them to play organised football both when they have the ball and when they don’t have it.

“That’s where experience can be a help in the fact it can often mean that you maintain humility or don’t get carried away or too despondent if a result doesn’t go your way and you can hopefully see a bigger picture ahead and put performances and results in the right perspective, because it is possible to win games even when the team is not doing very well or playing very well or you are getting a lot of luck on your side. 

“It is also possible to act conversely where you lose a couple of games when you have not played that badly.

“The Tottenham and Newcastle games were early examples of that, we lost 1-0 but our performances were far better than could be expected of a bottom of the table team and I was able to capitalise on that, whereas when you are younger, the result can affect you and you can fail to see the positives.

“It’s also a two-edged sword. You have to be careful because the talented young coaches won’t get a job because everyone (like me and Rafa) is working.

“But age should not be a factor. The older ones have to accept that the younger ones move in with their hunger and enthusiasm, then that is going to weigh heavily with the people who are going to appoint young managers but it is really that the clubs have a really clear profile of what they are looking for.

“Obviously, one of the qualities they have been looking for in one of their new managers might be experience which might make it a little harder for the younger coaches as they might not score highly on that front.

“You need that to match your younger rival in terms of your energy, your enthusiasm and desire to do a good job. Your willingness to get up early to the training ground and go out in all weathers, you have to match that.

“I think it was very fortunate for Newcastle persuaded Rafa to stay because when they got relegated, and he came in too late to prevent that, there is no doubt that most of us would have seen him as the ideal man to get them back up again, but it was not easy for the club because I would have thought he would have had other offers that would not have needed to stay and do that.”

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