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Roy Hodgson is revered in Sweden – Graham Potter

UK & international sports | Published:

The Crystal Palace manager enjoyed success with Halmstad and Malmo.

Roy Hodgson is revered in Swedish football

Brighton boss Graham Potter says Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is deservedly revered in Swedish football.

Potter quickly became aware of the Scandinavian country’s high regard for Hodgson – and fellow English coach Bob Houghton – during a successful seven-and-a-half-year spell with Ostersund.

The pair will be in opposing Premier League dugouts for the first time on Monday evening when Albion face bitter rivals Palace at Selhurst Park.

“Roy and Bob Houghton were both spoken really, really highly of and their influence,” said Potter, recalling his time in Sweden.

“Not just the success they had at their own clubs but how they influenced Swedish football and the organisation of Swedish football. The 4-4-2 that became quite Swedish was a lot of Roy and Bob’s influence.

“They were legends and rightly so for what they achieved in Sweden.

“It wasn’t until I got over there that I understood. I followed Roy’s career from where he went in Sweden. He’s an experienced football guy.

“You won’t get many more experienced in world football than Roy Hodgson in terms of his variety of experience. In Sweden, he’s a legend.”

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Potter guided Ostersund from the fourth tier to Swedish cup glory and the last 32 of the Europa League before moving to Swansea in 2018 and onto the Amex Stadium in the summer.

Hodgson, 72, began his managerial career by lifting two Swedish titles with Halmstad between 1976 and 1980. He later followed in the footsteps of close friend Houghton by managing Malmo, winning the championship five times in succession from 1985 to 1989.

Potter said in a 2015 interview that he was embarrassed to have his name mentioned in the same breath as Hodgson.

However, the 44-year-old, whose Swansea side lost to Palace in last season’s Carabao Cup, insists beating a man he greatly admires does not serve as added motivation for the trip to south-east London.

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“It would mean something special to win three points for Brighton and for the players and for the supporters, it’s not about me versus Roy,” said Potter.

“It’s just our clubs. I have respect for him as a coach but we will be trying to win on Monday night and I’m sure it will be the same for him.

“I still look at his longevity and what he’s achieved over a period of time and have full respect for him.

“The quality of Roy’s work over a period of time was how he got his next stage of his career. I had to do it in a different way. But I don’t like making any comparisons.

“Mine was my journey. I’m proud of mine and I’m sure Roy is proud of his.”

Seagulls striker Aaron Connolly faces a late fitness test on a groin injury, while winger Solly March is out with a similar issue and midfielder Dale Stephens is suspended.

Albion did the double over Palace last season and will move above their opponents on goal difference with another victory.

“They’ve got the points, they’re organised, they’ve got some really good players,” added Potter.

“The team has got a clarity about how they want to play and they’re impressive.”

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