February 23, 2018 / 3:49 PM / a month ago

Soccer: Palace winger Zaha recovering ahead of schedule - Hodgson

(Reuters) - Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is ahead of schedule as he recovers from a knee injury suffered at the start of the month, manager Roy Hodgson said on Friday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Newcastle United - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - February 4, 2018. Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha. Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Zaha, a key player for Palace this season with four Premier League goals in 20 starts, was injured in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Feb. 4 but played the full 90 minutes.

The 25-year-old was initially ruled out for a month but Hodgson said Zaha was further ahead than the club thought he would be at this stage.

“But that still means we are looking at several weeks ahead before we can really count on him I think,” Hodgson told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s league visit by fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

“His attitude and desire to get back on the field is outstanding, I don’t think I have come across anyone any better in my career than him in that respect.”

Hodgson said he still had 12 senior players out injured as they approach the home stretch of the season.

“It’s a different team for me at the moment and the only two that we will get back within the next week or two are Jeffrey Schlupp and Martin Kelly.

“Possibly (Joel) Ward and possibly (Mamadou) Sakho, but the others are still long term and we’ll have to wait possibly until after the international break.”

Relegation-threatened Palace are 15th in the table with 27 points, just one point clear of the drop zone with 11 games remaining in the league.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir

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