Another day, another strange story from Paul Warburton.
Roy Hodgson’s obviously going to be reluctant to bring players back from injury too quickly given that Andy Johnson, Brede Hangeland and Simon Davies have all suffered from being rushed into service this season. The Fulham manager will be especially careful with John Pantsil after he damaged cruciate ligaments in his knee at Chelsea over Christmas.
John will push it to the limit. He won’t be taking another week just in case. He’ll be the one trying to nick a week and arguing with the physios to let him loose – and we’ve got to be careful with him.
John will have to toe the line, and another five weeks from now will give us a better idea. I think we have to be grateful he didn’t need an operation.
We’ve seen before that Hodgson plays a careful game with the media – laughing off the prospect of signing Dikgacoi before actually bringing him back to the club and urging Clint Dempsey to produce more to nail down a first team spot. Anyone who has seen Pantsil knows he’s an infectious sort of individual, who wouldn’t want to miss a minute of football, much less a month.
Equally, though, he has spoken of Hodgson with great respect in the past as a manager who rescued his career and turned him into a much better full back. To portray Hodgson’s comments as the pre-cursor to a ‘bust-up’ is shoddy sensationalism at best – and irresponsible journalism at worst.