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I don’t care what Martin O’Neill thinks about Matt Doherty – Nuno – football news

Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo has applauded Matt Doherty and insists he does not care what Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill thinks about the right-back after he scored the winner against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Doherty has three Ireland caps to his name and has been called up again for upcoming Nations League games against Denmark and Wales.

But many supporters have been confused by how infrequently Doherty – who has flourished over the last few years for Wolves – has been used by O’Neill, sparking suggestions there is a personal issue between the two.

Doherty has previously claimed O’Neill wants him to attack more, though he also suggested “maybe my face just doesn’t fit in” after apparently having his defensive capabilities questioned by the experienced manager as well.

But Nuno is happy with the 26-year-old, after he produced an enterprising performance as a wing-back in Wolves’ 1-0 win at Palace, scoring the winner after a smart exchange with Raul Jimenez.

When O’Neill’s apparent comments were put to Nuno, he told reporters: “Matt has been doing his job since last season.

“He didn’t change the way he approaches the competitions and he’s doing well. What others think and what others want, I don’t really care.

“What I want is what he’s giving me and giving his team-mates, not only in the offensive part but in defence and set-pieces, because he’s a very important player.”

Nuno’s counterpart on Saturday was Roy Hodgson, and the former England manager was keen to deflect blame from goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who was beaten by Doherty at his near post for the game’s solitary goal.

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“He had almost nothing to do in the first half and made a fantastic save,” Hodgson said. “I thought they might score that.

“For the goal, it is not just the goalkeeper. You look at defenders as well, and the guy [Doherty] took the chance.

“[It was] good work from them, but any goal you concede is a bad one, because someone somewhere could have done better.”

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Hodgson eager to bring Loftus-Cheek back to Palace – football news

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has vowed to try to bring Ruben Loftus-Cheek back to the club if he concedes defeat in his battle for first-team football at Chelsea.

Loftus-Cheek spent last season on loan at Palace and impressed enough to earn a place in England’s World Cup squad, returning to Stamford Bridge for 2018-19 in the hope of enjoying more game time following the exit of Antonio Conte.

But with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic adding to the January signing of Ross Barkley, new coach Maurizio Sarri is spolied for choice in midfield, so much so that neither Danny Drinkwater nor Cesc Fabregas have made a single Premier League appearance this term.

Loftus-Cheek has featured just twice from the bench, and has not played enough to persuade Gareth Southgate to pick him in the latest England squad. 

Hodgson remains an admirer of the 22-year-old, and indicated he’d be happy to bring the midfielder back on loan should the opportunity arise. 

“Ruben Loftus-Cheek did an outstanding job for us when he came here,” Hodgson told reporters on Friday.

“He really answered all the questions that we hoped he would answer, and luckily for us, and even more for him, it got him recognised by the national team.

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“He found himself in Russia representing England, which was a perfect end to the season he had for us.

“We admire him, we like him very much and we wish him well, and of course, like a lot of other clubs, I’m sure when the day comes when he becomes available for a transfer, we will be sticking our noses into that, but whether we will get him again, that’s another matter. Who knows, we will see.”

Palace will face Wolves on Saturday at Selhurst Park in Premier League action.

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FA should deal with Zaha’s ‘broken leg’ comments, says Benitez – football news

Wilfried Zaha’s comments regarding refereeing decisions should be assessed by the FA, according to Rafael Benitez.

Crystal Palace winger Zaha claimed he would have to sustain a broken leg in a tackle for an opponent to be sent off when speaking to reporters after the South London club’s game against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday and the Magpies boss took exception to Zaha’s suggestion he is not protected by officials.

“He’s a good player, no doubt about that, but I think the FA has to deal with his comments,” said Benitez.

“I’m sure that [referee Andre] Marriner will not have this in the back of his head.

“He has a lot of experience, even if his record is not the best in terms of red cards, but I’m confident he is a very good referee with a lot of experience and he will deal with the situation in a normal way.

“When we talk about ‘you cannot ask for a yellow card during the game’, [what about] asking for a red card before the game? It’s not something we can control but maybe someone else will make a point.”

Zaha shrugged off some heavy treatment by Huddersfield Town defenders last week to earn all three points for Palace with a sensational solo strike.

And Palace manager Hodgson denied reports he has been in contact with Professional Game Match Officials Limited managing director Mike Riley regarding Zaha.

“No, I haven’t spoken to Mike Riley. I think that was simply a reference to the fact that after every game clubs are asked to comment and send a report on the game,” the former England boss said.

“I am pretty certain we did that, like we do every game, but there has been no specific contact with either the Premier League or Mike Riley and his people, I see no reason for that.

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“We are talking about an interview that somebody gave which has sparked a lot of debate, that’s fine, maybe we should have these debates from time to time.

“Football has changed enormously, and we have moved on and a lot of good things have been done. The refereeing standard today is far greater and far better, in my opinion, than it was many years ago.

“As far as I am concerned, that is a situation which is in the past and I have absolutely no comments to make about referees and we have certainly, from a coaching side of things, have not made any overtures to the Premier League or to the PGMOL.”

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