Crystal Palace announced on March 23 that defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka had withdrawn from the England U21 squad through injury, and his potential absence against Huddersfield Town this weekend gives Roy Hodgson the ideal opportunity to finally allow Max Meyer to flourish.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) March 23, 2019
Well, Wan-Bissaka has been one of the Eagles’ top performers this season at right-back, but if he isn’t fit to face the Terriers at Selhurst Park on Saturday then Hodgson will need to consider his options.
The 71-year-old has preferred a 4-3-3 system this term, and with players like Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur, Cheikhou Kouyate and Jeffrey Schlupp impressing consistently, there often hasn’t been much of a look in for Meyer in the starting XI.
In fact, when he made the team-sheet against Burnley earlier this month it was the first time he had done so in the Premier League since Boxing Day, as he appears to still be acclimatising to life in English football.
If Wan-Bissaka does miss out, then the former England boss should roll out a 3-4-1-2 system against a side that look destined for the Championship next season.
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Patrick van Aanholt and Andros Townsend are capable of filling the wing-back slots despite playing as a full-back and winger respectively for much of the campaign, while playing three centre-backs would also allow Martin Kelly, James Tomkins and Scott Dann to all be on the pitch at the same time.
With Wilfried Zaha alongside Michy Batshuayi up top that would leave space for a creative player in behind them who would have his usual defensive duties taken away – step forward, Mr Meyer.
There will be few better opportunities than Huddersfield at home for Hodgson to give the German some attacking freedom, and for the player to grasp the chance and thrive as a result.