Roy Hodgson sends warning over level of Matheus Franca expectation at Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that sporting director Dougie Freedman spent extensive time in Brazil scouting Matheus Franca, before the club bought him from Flamengo for £26million.
Speaking on Friday, Hodgson also appeared to criticise some sections of the Palace support and the media in hyping up Franca’s positional versatility more than he feels is necessary, given that the attacker is still only 19.
He played right across the front-line during his time in Brazil with Flamengo, but when asked if he has a position in mind for Franca, Hodgson said: “No, I think for him the position he needs to target is one that’s available, and one where he is capable of playing.
“We don’t have any hard and fast thoughts on the subject. But I do have hard and fast thoughts on the subject of people making bold statements. If it’s someone who has been watching the player on a regular basis in Brazil, like Doug Freedman [then fair enough].
“Doug Freedman spent quite a lot of time in Brazil, watching Matheus Franca play for Flamengo. He had his opinions about it, which we took on board. That’s the only opinion I’m really interested in. He told Steve Parish, the man that bought him, that he has all the skillsets necessary to become a good player in the English Premier League. I think he’s the sort of guy that won’t need a lot of adaptation.”
Hodgson added: “We are more than happy with Matheus Franca. We think he is going to be a big player for Crystal Palace Football Club, but it doesn’t have to be when he’s just stepped through the door and he’s only recovered from injury ten days ago.”
The Palace boss previously said: “We’re going to have to get him into either the first team or an Under-23 game. As far as our coaching staff, all we’ve seen are highlights of his time in Flamengo. His English has improved faster than I thought. He has been training well.
“But people shouldn’t forget he’s 19 years of age. It’s not going to be a question of in a week or two he becomes Lionel Messi. That’s not the way it works.”
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