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Roy Hodgson in no rush to finish coaching career

Roy Hodgson in no rush to finish coaching career
© Reuters
The 73-year-old's deal is up at the end of the season but the ex-England manager does not want to hold renewal talks until the campaign is over.

Roy Hodgson has described it as a privilege to still be managing in the Premier League and admitted he cannot imagine not coaching.

The 73-year-old, who is out of contract in the summer, will take charge of his 361st game in the division when Crystal Palace visit Southampton on Tuesday.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl described the experienced manager as a "role model" and also conceded he could not imagine him stopping ahead of their latest meeting at St Mary's.

"I have never been able to imagine myself not coaching or working either," Hodgson admitted.

"I have got a lot of respect for Ralph and the job he has done. I have enjoyed speaking to him as well, but you would be hard pushed to find people that I have found myself coming up against, colleagues, that I have got a bad word to say against.

"I have said on several occasions I think the standard today in the Premier League of the managers and coaches is remarkably high and it does not get weaker.

"If anything, it gets stronger and it is a privilege really to be a part of it, mixing with these guys really because you know how good they are at their jobs, how well they organise and prepare their teams.

"I have never set out to be a role model for anybody, I have got to say. I don't regard myself as a particular role model and the longevity of my career is just one thing.

"As I have said on many occasions, okay a fairly large part of it now has been in England, at other top clubs abroad and at national teams, but there was a good period in the beginning, in the 12 years I spent in Sweden, that was a tremendous period of learning if you like.

"Learning in a climate which I am pretty certain Ralph has not been able to enjoy, because he has been deep in from the kick off."

Talks over Hodgson's future have been delayed by the ex-England boss until the season is over, such is his determination to ensure Palace are able to finish strongly with no distractions.

Whatever happens during the summer regarding the managerial situation, there seems little doubt a key figure at Selhurst Park next term will be Eberechi Eze, who scored his fourth goal for the club in Saturday's 2-0 win at Sheffield United.

It was another eye-catching display by the playmaker, who has impressed this season since a £20million switch from QPR, and Hodgson believes even media hype will not distract the development of the youngster.

He said: "I think he'll handle it, even if it goes over the top. He'll handle it, I'm not worried about that at all because he's such a level-headed person.

"He knows what he's got to do and knows that a pat on the back one day becomes the kick up the backside the day after.

"But during a long career I've seen a lot of situations where a player has burst onto the scene and got enormous praise and then all of a sudden they haven't been able to handle it."

With four goals and five assists this campaign, Eze trails behind some of his rivals for an England spot in terms of numbers, but his club manager feels the 22-year-old has all the attributes to eventually earn recognition on the international stage.

Hodgson added: "He knows his ability, knows he's a good player. He knows what he's got to keep doing to make certain he maintains that level of play and continues to improve on it.

"He should have ambitions of playing for his country, there's no doubt about that. He looks around, sees the competition and there are some pretty good players amongst it, so he's pretty much aware of what he's got to do."

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