Alexander Sørloth was given his second consecutive start in Palace colours against Tottenham on Sunday and once again gave the impression that he has the potential to be a genuine threat in the Premier League.
Speaking about the 22-year-old during his pre-match press conference towards the back end of last week, Roy Hodgson was quick to highlight how impressed he and the coaching staff have been by the big man’s adaptation to the speed and style of play that he’ll be forced to contend with in England, all of which points towards him having an extremely bright future in SE25.
Having not been scheduled to start against Everton a couple of weeks ago, Roy was pleased to see how well Sørloth coped with the challenge up at Goodison Park and consequently had no qualms about using him in the same role against Tottenham yesterday afternoon. Clearly, in the two weeks since we took on the Toffees, Alex has only served to enhance his reputation on the training ground, leading the gaffer to breathe an audible sigh of relief.
Whilst scouting reports and the opinions of those he trusts all pointed towards Sørloth being more than good enough to mix it in the Premier League, Roy is right when he says above that he couldn’t quite be sure of the youngster’s true ability until he began working with him from day to day and luckily, he seems fully convinced about him after little under a month of training.
As things stand, the Norwegian international has been deployed in a slightly wide role, playing off our central striker Christian Benteke but once Wilfried Zaha returns from injury, I’d like to see how the team functions with Sørloth leading the line in front of a five-man midfield, using Townsend and Wilf as out-and-out wide-men.
You don’t need me to remind you that Benteke is in the midst of an epically poor run in front of goal and given Sørloth’s pace and desire to prove himself at this level, I see nothing to suggest that we wouldn’t benefit from playing him as a lone striker with two extremely capable wingers either side of him in the final third.
I’d like to think that the big man will be with us next season regardless of the division we’re playing in, with a stint in what is his natural position looking like the obvious next step in his development from where I’m standing. Let’s be honest, his goal return can’t be much worse than what Christian Benteke has managed since May of 2017.