Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has jumped to goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey’s defence after Eagles fans slammed the Welshman’s performance against Doncaster Rovers on Sunday.
Hennessey was making his first start since the FA Cup third round and the 32-year-old remains in hot water over allegations that he made a Nazi salute following the emergence of a photo with his Palace teammates, but Hodgson has no doubts over his innocence.
As quoted by the Daily Mail, Hodgson said: “We are both hoping and confident that charge won’t lead to any particular sanctions.
“We believe he is totally innocent of any charge being made, although we do understand in this current climate that the FA are duty bound to research anything.”
However, Hennessey’s comeback was not well-received by Palace fans, who took to social media to vent their frustration at his shaky performance on Sunday.
The former Wolves man kept a clean sheet as Palace dispatched of League One Doncaster with a 2-0 win, but he looked nervous on the ball on an uneven playing surface at Keepmoat Stadium and his handling was questionable on several occasions.
Hennessey made his job harder than it needed to be at times – parrying shots that could have been smothered and miscontrolling backpasses from his defenders.
Scott Dann and Wayne Hennessey are taking years off me here. The pair of them are causing me unreal levels of stress
— Sam (@Fevvo) February 17, 2019
He kept a clean sheet today, he didn’t do anything wrong as such but I just never feel confident with Wayne Hennessey in goal. I try to have faith in him, I try not to stress but I’m just so much more confident with Guaita in goal.
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) February 17, 2019
To the delight of many Palace fans, summer arrival Vicente Guaita, who has displaced Hennessey as Palace’s first-choice keeper and started nine of the previous 10 league matches, is expected to return between the sticks when they travel to Leicester City on Saturday.
In half the number of games, Guaita has kept four clean sheets to Hennessey’s five and as the controversy around the Welshman lingers, his popularity amongst the Selhurst Park faithful continues to wane.