Crystal Palace winger Jeffrey Schlupp made his much-awaited come back from injury on Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old winger came on as a second half substitute for Eberechi Eze as the Eagles held title contenders Manchester United to a goalless draw at Selhurst Park Stadium.
Schlupp was one of a few crucial players who have been out injured for the London side. His return is a big boost for coach Roy Hodgson. Wilfried Zaha is another player who has been out of action for a few weeks and he is still pushing to make his return from injury.
Speaking to the media after the game, Hodgson said he was pleased with the point and having Schlupp back in the fold.
“The return of Schlupp, the return soon of Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur, that will also help us in that area and I think if we can get a couple of the other one back we will be even more capable, if you like, of playing that sort of football that we played on occasions today and creating more chances.
“But it’s not easy to create chances against United anyway as their 21 games without defeat away from home proves. At least we stopped them from winning tonight. I think every time Crystal Palace play Man United at least in the last four seasons that I’ve been here, it’s a reason to celebrate when you get a result and for me a draw against them is always a result.”
The Ghanaian has played 16 Premier League games this season scoring twice and assisting a further strike. Hodgson has used him in several roles in the field.
He has played as a winger, a left back and a creative midfielder who provides support to the front line. In his absence, Andros Townsend has stepped in and played well for the Eagles in the past few games.
In the past three games, they have taken five points from a possible nine in the league. Palace is 13th on the table with 34 points from 27 games.
Hodgson’s side will now shift their focus to Sunday’s London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
Schlupp will hope to make the Ghana national team squad for the 2021 Afcon qualifiers against South Africa and Sao Tome ePrincipe later this month. Since making his debut in 2011, he has played 18 international games for the Black Stars and scored just a single goal.
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By Prince Sobayeni