SAM Johnstone has spoken of his huge admiration for Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson.
Johnstone has been an ever present in the Premier League for the Eagles this season and the Palace stopper is certainly enjoying working every day under former national boss Hodgson at Copers Cope Road.
The keeper told the ‘Seaman Says’ podcast (hosted by ex-England number one David Seaman): “He’s great. He is on the pitch every day taking the sessions.
“He doesn’t let other people take it and sit back – he is bang at it every day.
“And if you’re not on it, he’ll tell you straight and get the lads going without ranting and raving.
“Some of the stuff he says in meetings is just great. He’s also adapted.
“He’s brilliant, on the pitch every day at it, getting the lads at it, not letting the standards drop – and if they do, he’s on you!”
Johnstone joined Palace from West Brom last summer on a free transfer, initially spending most of the time as an unused sub apart from two Carabao Cup appearances.
In fact, it wasn’t until Hodgson returned to SE25 for a second spell in charge following the dismissal of Patrick Viera that he made his first Premier League start for the club in April’s memorable 5-1 away win at Leeds.
Johnstone has retained his place as the regular keeper ever since and is currently away with England for their final two Euro qualifying games with Malta and North Macedonia looking to add to his four caps for the Three Lions.
The 30-year-old revealed his club boss is always wanting to find out more every time he, Marc Guehi and Eberechi Eze return to Palace from international duty.
“He’s really proud,” said Johnstone.
“I played at the back end of last season after not playing so much and got back into the England squad in the summer, and he was just so proud.
“It was literally like he was a family member with how proud he was.
“And not just of me, but all three of us – me, Marc and Ebere.
“Roy was asking when we came back: ‘How was it? How long were you at St George’s? When you came back, what did you do?’
“He was really, really interested. And it wasn’t just that one trip, it’s every trip you go on.
“As soon as you come back, he’s got a smile on his face and the first thing he asks you is ‘how was it?’
“He was so happy and proud for us to go and then wanted to know what you got up to when you were there. He is literally just a great person.”