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Roy Hodgson: 'I can't rule out Wilfried Zaha departure'

Roy Hodgson: 'I can't rule out Wilfried Zaha exit'
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The 26-year-old has four years left on his contract with the Eagles.

Roy Hodgson admits he is powerless to prevent Crystal Palace cashing in on Wilfried Zaha this summer.

Zaha, who has four years left on his Palace contract, last week cast doubt over his future by revealing his desire to play Champions League football.

Eagles manager Hodgson insists his star player is happy at Selhurst Park but concedes he would be unable to block a move should the club's board receive a large transfer bid.

"I'm not ruling out the fact that something like that could come up when we sit down – it would be wrong to do that," said Hodgson.

"The point is that no one at the club has really got any interest in selling Wilf Zaha, so we're rather hoping that we won't get those offers. But I'm realistic and it would be a club issue.

"If the bids don't come to me any more, the bids come through the chairman himself (Steve Parish) or through (sporting director) Doug Freedman, if one day they call me in and say 'Look, this is the situation' – I shall be in their hands basically.

"I don't have the power to veto any decisions of that nature."

Zaha, in his second permanent spell at Selhurst Park following a short unsuccessful stint with Manchester United, has contributed nine league goals and three assists for Palace this term.

While former England boss Hodgson does not wish to see the Ivory Coast international depart south London, he believes it is important for footballers to be ambitious.

The 71-year-old wants all of his squad to aspire to play Champions League football and feels it is "not an impossible dream" for them to do it with Palace.

"I think if you're in the Premier League and, at the moment, you find yourself sitting in 11th position, I'd like to think all of the players would be able to say they'd like to play in the Champions League," said Hodgson.

"Maybe even with Crystal Palace because we're a good way away from it but it's not an impossible dream.

"And if you're a good player in the Premier League you know there's always going to be a lot of people looking at you, possibly coveting you.

"But the bottom line with Wilf is that he signed a long-term contract at the end of last season, he was well rewarded for that, he made it clear that his heart is with Crystal Palace and so we've got to make certain and hope that is the case and that we will keep him for the years to come."

Mid-table Palace are pressure-free going into their final three top-flight fixtures having moved onto 42 points with last weekend's shock win at Arsenal.

The Eagles host ninth-placed Everton on Saturday and Hodgson expects an entertaining encounter.

"Obviously the knife has been taken from the throat, that's nice," he added.

"There are still a few teams having to play with a knife at their throat and it's good that we're not one of them.

"Everton are in the same boat so it should lead to a game where both teams have got the courage and the confidence to go out and play.

"I'm pretty certain that Everton, like ourselves, will be looking to get more points to finish as high up in the league table as they can."

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