This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
The Athletic’s Crystal Palace correspondent Matt Woosnam has hinted in a recent article at the one thing letting Wayne Hennessey down when it comes to being Roy Hodgson’s first-choice goalkeeper at Selhurst Park.
Well, the Wales international often shared the burden with fellow stopper Vicente Guaita last term having made 18 Premier League appearances, but it has been a different story so far this term with his only outing coming in the Carabao Cup.
It appears as though the Spaniard is now Hodgson’s go-to keeper, and Woosnam decided to analyse the influence the 32-year-old is having, including a look at his strengths.
Woosnam wrote in The Athletic: “Of more interest, though, is his speed of thought in playing the ball out from the back.
“Against Aston Villa, it was apparent when he quickly rolled the ball out to Luka Milivojevic, who helped create the only goal of the game with a swift move. In a counter-attacking team, with pacy wide players who can get the team up the pitch quickly, the ability to get the ball to them as quickly as possible is crucial.”
Woosnam added that Hennessey was brought in by former Eagles boss Tony Pulis for his ability to kick the ball further up the pitch to a target man, but of course things are a little different under Hodgson in what is often a counter-attacking team.
That means that a goalkeeper is needed who can distribute the ball quickly to players that can make a difference with a forward pass, as Guaita did with Milivojevic against Villa as mentioned above.
The Athletic writer has in turn hinted that Hennessey doesn’t quite have that same ability, and it is something that is letting him down in his bid to be the club’s undoubted number one.
At 32 years of age it remains to be seen whether it is something he can bring to his game or not, but it appears to be a neccessity while Hodgson is at the helm.