Roy Hodgson has given some context over his decision to start Wayne Hennessey in place of fan-favourite Vicente Guaita against Burnley, a decision from the gaffer which was vindicated with the Eagles running out 3-1 winners at Turf Moor.
Guaita’s absence from the starting XI shocked many, as did the boss’ call to drop Andros Townsend to the bench and start Max Meyer in his place. The German’s involvement from the start is something many people (including myself) have been crying out for for weeks now but few if any expected Roy to actually do it when faced with taking on Sean Dyche’s side on their own patch.
His reasoning for the rotation of outfield players came down simply to the sheer number of games we’ve played over the last seven days, with our trip to Lancashire bringing our third match in that time but when it came to the swap of personnel in between the sticks, Hodgson’s came down to tactics rather than any perceived level of fatigue for the Spaniard.
It’s a well known fact that Dyche’s Burnley are both big and physical in their approach to the beautiful game, with the likes of Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood and Peter Crouch regularly relied upon to challenge both defenders and goalkeepers aerially over the course of 90 minutes. With that in mind, it seems Roy opted for Hennessey thanks to his extra height, with the ends justifying the means for all to see at full-time.
Whether or not the Welshman will keep the starting role when Brighton come to south London this Saturday remains to be seen; I know I would prefer to see Guaita in between the sticks but I’ve given up trying to second guess the gaffer’s decision making at this point; we’ll just have to wait and see what surprises the starting XI throws up.