Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has disclosed that the club’s sporting director, Dougie Freedman, invested a substantial amount of time scouting Matheus Franca in Brazil before the club secured his £26 million transfer from Flamengo.
Speaking on Friday, Hodgson also appeared to criticize certain segments of the Palace fan base and the media for overemphasizing Franca’s positional versatility, particularly considering the fact that the young attacker is only 19 years old.
During his time with Flamengo in Brazil, Franca played in various roles across the forward line. When asked if Hodgson has a specific position in mind for Franca, he replied, “No, I believe he should focus on a position that is available and one where he can excel. We don’t have any fixed ideas on the matter. However, I do have strong opinions about people making bold claims.”
Hodgson further stated, “If it’s someone who has been closely following the player’s performances in Brazil, such as Doug Freedman, then that’s fair enough. Doug Freedman spent a significant amount of time in Brazil observing Matheus Franca playing for Flamengo and shared his insights, which we took into account. That’s the only perspective that truly matters to me.”
He continued, “He informed Steve Parish, the individual who completed the purchase, that Franca possesses all the necessary skills to become a successful player in the English Premier League. I believe he’s the type of player who won’t require extensive adaptation.”
Hodgson emphasized, “We are genuinely content with Matheus Franca, and we anticipate that he will have a significant role at Crystal Palace Football Club. However, it’s important to remember that he has just arrived and only recently recovered from an injury.”
The Palace manager had previously stated, “We will need to integrate him into either the first team or an Under-23 game. Thus far, our coaching staff has only seen highlights of his performances with Flamengo. His proficiency in English has improved more rapidly than I expected, and he has been training effectively. However, it’s essential to bear in mind that he is just 19 years old. It’s not a matter of him becoming the next Lionel Messi in a week or two; it doesn’t work that way.”