Belfast Telegraph

Jack Butland thinks Roy Hodgson is a good fit for Crystal Palace

Jack Butland has revealed the "meticulous" approach Roy Hodgson will take to organising Crystal Palace's defence and also how he will prove the opposite of his predecessor Frank de Boer.

Palace lost their first fixture under their new manager 1-0 at home to Southampton on Saturday, conceding a poor goal to Steven Davis and ensuring they became the first English top-flight team beaten in the first five games of a season without scoring.

Hodgson similarly lost his first three league games at Fulham before eventually leading them to survival in 2008, and it has long been recognised he requires time to exert his influence.

Butland was handed his England debut aged 19 by Hodgson, shortly after the manager had taken him to Euro 2012, and has since emerged as the greatest threat as England's first-choice to Joe Hart.

From observing Hodgson's methods, Butland recognises his greatest strength comes in organising a defence, a weakness throughout Palace's decline that began in early 2016, and he told Press Association Sport: "He's meticulous on the training pitch.

"His attention to detail: on players' positioning, certainly from a defensive point of view, it's his main focus.

"If you ask any of his players at (former clubs) West Brom and Liverpool, I'm sure training would have been the same: shape-based, and very defensive-minded.

"Roy gave me my England debut; I'll always respect the man. It'll be brilliant to see him back.

"It's a tough scenario for him to come into; I suppose different end of the spectrum to what De Boer offered in terms of playing style. Hopefully he can make things right at Palace.

"He's extremely experienced, and respected by managers all over the world. He speaks multiple languages, has managed in many countries and been successful, and to a point was successful with England as well."

There was unhappiness among Palace's squad and the club's board about much of De Boer's directness, which knocked the confidence of some of his players, Martin Kelly prominent among them.

Kelly featured for Hodgson at Liverpool and, like Butland, was also taken to Euro 2012, and the goalkeeper's description of his personal approach highlights another significant change his new club can expect.

"He was always positive, and always asking how you were: how things were with your club, as anyone would, but in the times I was in the squad, he was always good to me, and I hope he does well," he said.

"He's prepared to give people a chance. At the time of my call-up to Euro 2012, John Ruddy was injured, but he was prepared to give me a go and take me out there. It was an incredible experience for me, to learn so much from those guys.

"He then felt comfortable a couple of months later to give me my debut. He gives people a chance, but he's set in his ways of how he wants to play, and very defence-orientated. He'll be a good fit."

:: Stoke City's Jack Butland swaps saves for slam-dunks for the launch of NBA 2K18, out now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows PC and Nintendo Switch

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