The last few weeks have seen speculation gathering over a possible early return to Manchester United for defensive loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah but following Palace’s battling 0-0 draw against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve, Eagles boss Roy Hodgson sought to set the record straight.
Whilst the Dutchman has been placed behind Joel Ward in the pecking order since Hodgson first took up residence in the Selhurst Park dugout four months ago, his display against Guardiola’s usually rampant City side gave everyone an indication of just what the right-back can offer when he’s fit and fully motivated to perform.
Possessing searing pace and an obvious love for a tackle, Tim (who turns 20 today) all but marked the in-form Leroy Sane out of the game, contributing in an attacking sense by working hard to advance our play whenever the opportunity presented itself. Whilst there had supposedly been concerns from Old Trafford over the amount of game-time he was being afforded, his display 48 hours ago should see him retain his starting place on the right-hand side of our back four when we travel to Southampton this evening.
Given the frantic nature of the fixture list over the festive period, it stands to reason that Hodgson would look to use his squad to its full potential when navigating his way through three games in the space of five days, making the individual performances from Fosu-Mensah and previously forgotten man Jairo Riedewald all the more welcome for the gaffer.
Whilst we’re expected to welcome back at least two or three of the players who missed out against Manchester City with “knocks”, I struggle to see how Tim won’t be selected to start against Mauricio Pellegrino’s men at St Mary’s tonight. A repeat display of the one against the champions in waiting would go down a treat.