Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is delighted Andros Townsend is giving him a selection headache.
The ex-Tottenham winger was introduced in the 70th minute against Norwich on Saturday and made sure of the three points with a fine strike in the second minute of stoppage time for his first goal of the season.
Although Townsend showed his quality in the 2-0 win, Hodgson was equally happy with Jeffrey Schlupp, who started ahead of him at Selhurst Park.
Townsend, 28, has been a key player for Palace over the past three seasons but lost his starting berth at the beginning of the campaign and remained on the bench during the recent 1-1 draw with Wolves.
It therefore gave Hodgson great pleasure to watch the Palace attacker give him something to ponder ahead of Saturday’s London derby at West Ham.
He said: “In my two years here, Andros has been a very integral part of the team and an integral part of the group as well with his enthusiasm, work-rate, desire and experience.
“These are all very important qualities, so it is never easy to leave a player like that out of the team.
“But, of course, to keep your place you have to keep your standards up and keep playing as well as you have been playing to get the reputation you have and to get the coaching staff to believe in you as much as they do.
“But like all players, there are periods of time where things don’t quite go your way, but it was nice to see him back in the team and scoring a goal, which is always important.
“It’s also been nice to see how well Jeffrey Schlupp has done because last year the competition for places maybe wasn’t as high because Jeffrey was injured for large periods.”
Palace have plenty of options out wide, with Jordan Ayew also able to play there, but the Ghana international has largely been used through the middle.
Centre-back is another area where the Eagles are blessed, with Gary Cahill a consistent performer since signing in the summer.
Asked whether the 33-year-old, who took a step back from international duty in 2018, could earn an England recall soon, Hodgson replied: “I will not get involved with that.
“I had four years managing England, 56 games and before all of them games people were quite often telling me ‘I should pick this player or pick that player.’
“There is no doubt if you ask Gareth Southgate ‘What do you think of Gary Cahill?’, he will give you chapter and verse on Gary and what he can do, what he can’t do and how he fits in their plans.
“I’m just more than happy Gary is here with us and more than happy for what he did for a large part of those 50-odd England games.”
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