Roy Hodgson has said he is not ready to discuss whether he intends to retire, as major doubts persist over whether the 73-year-old will remain in charge at Crystal Palace next season.
Hodgson’s contract is up in the summer and it appears likely the former England manager will leave the post he took in September 2017 despite having guided Palace to safety with ease.
The former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is among several potential replacements being considered by the Palace chairman, Steve Parish, with Swansea’s Steve Cooper and Barnsley’s Valérien Ismaël – a former Palace record signing – also in contention after reaching the Championship play-offs.
It is understood an announcement on Hodgson’s future could be made before the game against Arsenal on Wednesday, when supporters will return to Selhurst Park. Hodgson, having insisted after Tuesday’s defeat against Southampton that he would reveal all “when the time is right”, would not budge before Sunday’s meeting with Aston Villa.
“When the time comes to speak openly about the subject I will,” he said. “But today isn’t the day because we’re not on a great run of form and we’ve got an opportunity to take points on Sunday. I want full focus on that.”
Asked whether he was looking forward to retirement, Hodgson replied: “I haven’t talked about retirement as yet. There will come a time when I do, but I’m not talking about it yet.”
With several players also out of contract in the summer, it promises to be an interesting few months at Palace, who have an outside chance of reaching the 50-point mark . That requires winning all three remaining games and key to that could be a rejuvenated Christian Benteke, who will face two of his former clubs in Villa and Liverpool having scored eight times this season.
“He deserves enormous respect and I hope he’ll keep it up the last three games because he’s got the Euros coming up,” Hodgson said of the Belgium international. “Who knows what will happen with that? If Benteke is given a chance ahead of [Romelu] Lukaku for one reason or another, I’d like to believe he’d be able to take it.”