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Roy Hodgson hopes former Eagles star Aaron Wan-Bissaka takes flight with England

Wan-Bissaka has previously been called up to the England senior squad but is yet to make his debut.


Aaron Wan-Bissaka has played for England’s Under-21s (Nick Potts/PA)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has played for England’s Under-21s (Nick Potts/PA)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has played for England’s Under-21s (Nick Potts/PA)

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has urged Aaron Wan-Bissaka to be patient before deciding which country to represent but admitted he would like the full-back to play for England.

The former Eagles defender has a choice to make at international level after appearing for DR Congo Under-20s in 2015 before, in the ensuing years, featuring for the Three Lions at various age groups.

Wan-Bissaka, who was born in Croydon but is of Congolese descent, will return to familiar surroundings on Wednesday when he takes on his old manager with Manchester United at Selhurst Park.

Hodgson said: “I read that he’s debating whether his future should be with England or DR Congo. That will be interesting to see what he decides in that area.

“I believe he is still young and has a big international future in front of him. As an Englishman, I would rather hope England would benefit from it.”

During Hodgson’s four-year spell in charge of the national team, he is credited with convincing Jack Grealish to pick the country of his birth rather than the Republic of Ireland.

It was the opposite with current Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, who eventually picked Ivory Coast over England at international level.

On Wan-Bissaka’s predicament, Hodgson added: “I would like to see him hold on. I would like to see him wait a bit longer.

“At the moment there’s big competition at right-back and he might not get into the team. Wilf was another good example. It’s always disappointing for me to see how England did miss out on using Wilf Zaha.

“I’m hoping Aaron will be patient and not dive straight in to play for an African nation. Like a lot of players, there’s a background with DR Congo but it’s not a country he’s actually lived in.

“England is the country he’s lived in, grown up in and played all his football in so it would be nice if he can dedicate his skills to England. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

“At the same time I’m not trying to put pressure on him or Gareth Southgate in any way whatsoever. It will be what it will be.”

Hodgson handed Wan-Bissaka his debut during the second half of the 2017-18 campaign and 18 months later he completed a £50million transfer to Old Trafford.

The competition at right-back for England is fierce, with Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all vying for the same spot.

But Hodgson has been impressed by the 23-year-old’s progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, adding: “He’s developing extremely well.

“There’s no doubt he’s improving. His ability on the ball has definitely improved. He’s getting forward a lot more than perhaps he was able to with us because he didn’t have the same players around him here that he now has at Man United.

“His defending is still as good as ever. He’s one of the best one-v-one defenders in the league, that’s well documented, and I certainly don’t see any diminishing of his powers in that respect.

“When he moved to Man United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, it was important for him to take on that responsibility and to make certain he could learn from the coaching staff, manager and players around him, it seems to me that’s what he has done.”

Online Editors