Ageless Hodgson braces for Crystal Palace dogfight
March 30, 2023 09:47 PM
Former England boss Roy Hodgson says he does not feel old enough for retirement after being tempted back to Crystal Palace to take on the challenge of a Premier League relegation scrap.
The 75-year-old, who was in charge of the Eagles between 2017 and 2021, was re-appointed last week on a contract until the end of the season following the sacking of Patrick Vieira.
Struggling Palace are on a 12-match winless run in the English top flight and sit just three points above the relegation zone before Saturday's home game with 17th-placed Leicester.
Hodgson, who was unable to prevent Watford dropping into the Championship last season, said he was surprised to be approached by the London club.
"I've accepted that I've retired as it were because that's what everyone's been saying," said Hodgson, who is 16 years older than the Premier League's second-oldest manager, West Ham boss David Moyes.
"I walk down the street, people say to me, 'are you enjoying your retirement?'. But at the same time, I've never really felt old enough to retire, if the truth's known.
"I know that I am, I know my birth certificate tells me I am."
Hodgson, who replaced Claudio Ranieri at Watford in January 2022, still feels the scars of relegation.
He has 10 matches to avoid suffering a similar fate at Selhurst Park but admits he can offer no guarantees going into a "dogfight" with eight rival clubs.
"I'm afraid bad experiences or unpleasant experiences like going to try and save a club from relegation and then not succeeding, that scars more than teaches you, there's no question of that," he said.
"I've just got to try and make certain it doesn't happen again because I know what a very painful and unpleasant experience it is for everyone."