One minute everyone is talking about who should replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and now it’s Roy Hodgson’s turn under the microscope.
Hodgson, who is the oldest man to ever manage in the Premier League, has recently admitted he is “undecided” over his Crystal Palace future.
The former England manager is currently into his fourth season in charge at Crystal Palace since he was appointed in September 2017.
But the 73-year-old’s contract at Selhurst Park is due to expire this summer which has cast doubts about his long-term future at the club.
So with that in mind, it’s about time Steve Parish started searching for a potential replacement, and he may not have to look very far at all, with reports from The Athletic last summer claiming that Burnley manager Sean Dyche is someone who is admired by those at Palace.
Some Palace fans have been crying out for the 49-year-old to replace Hodgson reports initially surfaced for the first time linking him to Selhurst Park last year.
Former Grimsby Town manager Michael Jolley, who learned the tricks of the trade under Dyche at Turf Moor, recently described his former boss as an “extremely intelligent” manager in an interview with Coaches Voice.
If Parish can persuade him to jump ship to Selhurst Park, he could almost completely transform the club’s fortunes. It goes without saying that he has performed something close to a miracle with the Clarets, often overachieving with very little in terms of resources, but he has also developed a system that has proven to be very hard for other teams to break down.
By the numbers, Burnley have conceded just 28 goals this season, the same amount as fifth-placed West Ham, which is nearly ten fewer than Hodgson’s side themselves (37). Think Liverpool, Arsenal and Wolves – these are just some of the scalps the Clarets have claimed in this campaign alone.
Setting his side up in his preferred 4-4-2 formation, Dyche’s side are prepared to put the hard graft in to frustrate and deny opponents, as they remain compact, sit back comfortably and defend in numbers. Hardly revolutionary, but doubly effective.
But that doesn’t quite paint the full picture. In terms of statistics, they aren’t necessarily a possession-based side, but have shown signs they have started to adapt to the ever-changing Premier League by controlling the ball and building up play from the back.
For instance, defensive midfielder Ashley Westwood averages 52.6 passes per 90. By comparison, that’s more than the likes of Jairo Riedewald and Patrick van Aanholt, the latter of which tops the Palace charts with 49.9 passes respectively.
However, Dyche does look well settled at Burnley, with the new board clearly keen to give him their full backing. But Dyche is arguably one of the most underrated managers in the game and if Parish can bring him to Palace, he could improve the team’s defensive frailities.
It’s exactly why the Eagles should revive last summer’s interest in the Burnley boss and seriously consider him as Hodgson’s heir.
AND in other news, Roy Hodgson should unleash Jean-Philippe Mateta against Leeds United…