Roy Hodgson hopes his Crystal Palace defenders can keep in-form Danny Ings quiet on Saturday after revealing he is still upset with the Southampton forward for turning down a move to Selhurst Park in 2018.
The former Liverpool striker has scored 11 goals in the Premier League this season to show the kind of form which earned him an England call-up four years ago.
Hodgson was the manager who handed Ings his solitary international cap on October 12, 2015 but the striker suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage just days later and has endured a terrible couple of seasons.
After returning to full fitness 18 months ago, the 27-year-old elected to join boyhood club Saints over Palace and Hodgson admitted with a smile that it is a decision which still wrangles with him.
Hodgson said: “I don’t know if I forgive him for not coming to us when we wanted to sign him and he went to Southampton instead.
“I’ve still got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about that one, but I’ve always admired Danny as a player.
“He is what you’d call a natural goalscorer. His movement in and around the penalty area is very good and when a chance comes his way, he’s got the technique to take the chance.
“Of course added to that he’s a hard worker so what got him selected for England and playing in Lithuania was those qualities which we admire.
“And very unlucky of course he picked up that nasty injury very soon after that game.”
Palace head to the south coast on the back of a fine 2-1 home victory over West Ham on Boxing Day.
Jordan Ayew’s wonder goal handed the Eagles a deserved three points and provided some much-needed cheer to the Selhurst Park faithful in the midst of an injury crisis.
Hodgson will be missing seven players for the visit of Southampton, who clinched an excellent win at Chelsea to move three points clear of the bottom three.
“Yes, I’m impressed by that. I’m not surprised,” the Palace boss said regarding the recent results of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
“I think they’re a good team, with good players and organised and they’re not a team you expect to see in and around the relegation zone if I’m going to be honest.
“It’s not a major surprise to me but I take my hat off to them and congratulate them on this run of games which has moved them higher up the table.”
The January transfer window opens on Wednesday and Hodgson again called for the board to bring in reinforcements.
While Palace are ninth and eight points above the relegation zone, the former England boss knows things can change quickly.
“This is a dangerous league and you can slip so very quickly,” Hodgson said.
“A good run can certainly become two defeats and a third defeat in a game that should have ended a draw then you lose the next one and all of a sudden the way you’ve been sitting pretty, you’re now looking over your shoulder.”