Leaning back on his chair as he spoke to the media at Crystal Palace's Copers Cope Training Ground on Friday, Roy Hodgson took time to reflect on an upcoming milestone in his career. 

As the 76-year-old steps out at Selhurst Park, a place that has seen him become an adored figure in his two stints at the helm, when his side hosts Nottingham Forest on Saturday, he'll be taking charge of his 400th Premier League match.  

In doing so he becomes just the eighth manager to reach this milestone since the league's rebranding in 1992, joining an illustrious list of Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes, Harry Redknapp, and Steve Bruce. 

With 399 games of experience under his belt, the most recent being a 1-0 win over Manchester United to become the first manager to ever go unbeaten in five consecutive league matches at Old Trafford, the veteran spoke of 'humility' being the most valuable lesson he's learnt.

"The lesson that all football managers should learn very early on is humility, because the game has got a very unfortunate habit of kicking you in the teeth when you think you least deserve it," he told VAVEL. 

"One of the lessons you need to learn early on is that no one’s got all the answers. There are no tactical geniuses because there is very little that you see on a football field that hasn’t been done before at some level going back in the past. 

"The basic principles of coaching and leadership has changed very little, what has changed enormously is the background to the game: Pitches, number of substitutes, names on shirts, back pass rule – they’re the things that have changed and made an enormous difference. 

"But if you talk about globally, going into a job, I would like to think that, although I've learnt such a lot because when I was very young and very naïve about it, one thing, in terms of the approach and what is needed, I don't think so much has changed now. 

"What changes is that you hope that with more experience you learn from your mistakes and you start to make a few less mistakes and you become a more rounded person."

When a journalist notified him of his upcoming achievement, it came as a pleasant surprise as he responded: "it's been too many for me now to keep record of it, but it's nice of you to remind me", before looking back at Premier League match number one. 

"I have a very clear memory of the Blackburn Rovers, Derby [County] game when I came back from Inter [Milan]. That lovely, sunny day was on my birthday, that was my 50th birthday."

He later added: "I’ve only got very good things to say about the time in the league and feel it’s been a great period in my life, and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity by Jack Walker all those years ago to come back from Italy and try England again."

With match number 400 on the horizon, it's a fair to assume that Hodgson won't have too much left in the tank. With the next milestone being 500, he gave the prospect of taking charge of another 100 matches no second thought as he provided a prompt "no".

Eberechi Eze and Palace's Injury Woes

As Eberechi Eze was substituted in the 88th-minute during last weekend's win, there was no concern that he suffered any more than a minor knock.

Hodgson's squad has been plagued with injuries this season, and the mention of the word 'scan' is enough to keep the manager up at night, but with Eze set to undergo a second scan for what is said to be a 'serious' hamstring injury, there is real cause for concern for the Eagles.

The 23-year-old has been an instrumental figure this season, particularly in the absence of Michael Olise, who remains sidelined after aggrevating his hamstring tear, and his absence will come with repercussions.

Reports suggest that he will be out for up to six weeks. However, Hodgson refrained from putting a number on it just yet.

“I would prefer not to say because I’m optimistic with these things, but the severity of the injury might suggest that it would be as long as that.

"The medical staff could be working very, very hard to shave off any time from the prognosis of the injury but it was a blow for us."

Next to Hodgson was a list, one comprising the names of those that are injured in case he forgot. The fact that he requires such a thing reiterates the selection headache he's contending with. 

In addition to the prospect of losing Eze for the forseeable future, Joel Ward is a fresh concern as he has suffered a groin strain, as well as Cheick Doucoure, who is the latest victim of the hamstring epidemic.

Despite all that's unfolding, Hodgson is getting on with things and insists that he has no intention of playing the sympathy card.

"There’s no sympathy in the world of football for injuries and there’s no point seeking for sympathy. It happens to all teams," he said. 

"We happen to be in the middle of quite a serious injury crisis at the moment, but we have to learn to deal with it and accept the situation, and look forward to the time where our squad becomes bigger again when these players return.

"Okay, it’s not going to be in the next week or two, but the season doesn’t end until May."

Growing Importance of Guehi and Andersen

With an ever-depleting list of attacking options to choose from for Palace and goals likely to become sparse, there will be a greater reliance on maintaining an impenetrable foundation to secure valuable points. 

The Eagles possess arguably one of the best centre-back partnerships in the top-flight in Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen, who, since their arrivals in the summer of 2021, have played more games together (64) than any other pairing in the division. 

Following a standout performance at Old Trafford, the pair have now played six times together this season and conceded four goals. On the two occasions they haven't featured together, Palace succumbed to defeat against Aston Villa (3-1) and Manchester United (3-0), further emphasising how integral they are to the team. 

Hodgson isn't one to comment on opinions, shutting down an opinion-based question earlier in the press conference, but he was open to discuss where his centre-backs rank amongst the best partnerships in the Premier League, despite not providing a definitive answer. 

"We are very happy with them, we think they’re very good, but it’s not for me to rank them," he told VAVEL.

"My opinion of them is extremely high. I think they’re both extremely good players and we’re very lucky to have them, and I think they rank very highly, but, of course, I think my son’s a great player, too. I’ve got a vested interest." 

Opposition: Nottingham Forest

Throughout Hodgson's 44-year managerial career, he has faced a plethora of opposition in a variety of countries.

To the surprise of many, however, he has come up against Forest just once - a 1-1 draw in the final game of last season. 

Palace don't boast the most favourable of records against this weekend's opponents, failing to win in their last five encounters, with their previous win coming in December 2011. In fact, the Eagles have failed to beat them in six meetings at Selhurst Park since December 2003. 

The manager views Steve Cooper's side as "a serious challenge" and feels it's difficult to define key areas of strength and weakness within teams nowadays. 

"It not so simple that 'well, the danger here is this or the weaknesses here is that'," he said.

"The teams are getting so strong in the Premier League now that there are no weaknesses, really.

"You’ve got to make certain that your only chance of getting a result is if your players, especially the players who are going to make a decisive difference for you, bring that game to Selhurst Park on Saturday evening.”

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