‘He’s been like a father to me’ – Crystal Palace’s Kouyate pays tribute to departing Hodgson

The veteran tactician’s four-year spell with the Selhurst Park club will come to an end after the Eagles game against Liverpool

Crystal Palace centre-back Cheikhou Kouyate revealed Roy Hodgson has been ‘like a father to him’ ahead of the manager’s departure.

The Premier League side announced that the 73-year-old would step down as head coach at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Hodgson, who had previously handled Liverpool and Inter Milan took charge of Palace in 2017 – leading them in over 160 fixtures in all competitions.

In a recent interview, the Senegal international who was signed by the Englishman from West Ham United talked about the impact Hodgson has had on him.

“He’s been like a father to me, not only a manager,” the 31-year-old told Premier League Productions, as per Crystal Palace website.

“He’s a good person, he’s helped a lot, he’s brought me here and I’m very, very sad to hear this news.

“Coming here and not seeing him [will be] very hard. [Roy Hodgson] is a lovely person, everybody loves him, so many people love him, and he knows how to talk with people.

“When he talked to us to say he’s stepping down it was very, very hard for me personally and I know for some [other] people here.”

Off the field of play, Kouyate operates the CK8 Foundation to support those in his country.

He stated that the inspiration for this philanthropic work came from fellow Palace player Mamadou Sakho.

“I saw Mamadou Sakho do that, he enjoys helping people, it’s been an example for me to see him help people, coming to Senegal, to do something there,” he continued.

“I say; ‘Wow, why not me?’ Helping people and giving my energy is not a loss for me, I have nothing to lose [by giving] something to some people. Talking to my friends and my wife I tell them; ‘I want to do that, I want to help people and this is the way.’

“I called [some people who work there] and they talked to me, saying it’s a pleasure for them to help me. I ask them: ‘If you want money I can pay you,’ and they say: ‘No, we don’t want money. We’re going to help you,’ and they do that.”

Kouyate is expected to be in action for Crystal Palace when they visit Anfield for their last game of the season against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

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