Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho has been spotted working in a public gym after training in South London, according to reports.
The French defender was allegedly spotted working out in a Wandsworth fitness centre on Tuesday, doing extra work to try and get to full-fitness as he recovers from a knee injury, states the Daily Mail.
Reportedly, the 29-year-old was using the shared machinery to the surprise of many members who can pay as little as £21.99-per-month to use the gym.
Sakho has returned to full training and has played a few pre-season matches, however, Hodgson confirmed that he – and counterpart James Tomkins – will not be available for selection again this week.
Hodgson said (via the Daily Mail) that both are ‘are getting closer and working hard every day, but there is no timescale [on their returns] at the moment.’.
Palace will be hoping their influential defender can get back to full fitness as soon as possible, as he is a crucial part of their side.
The centre-back played 27 games last season before injuries cut it short.
Statistically, he had a decent season. He led the charts for centre-backs for interceptions, averaging 1.5 per match – more than Tomkins with 1.2, allowed fewer dribbles past him than any of his defensive counterparts with 0.3, and also recorded more blocks than Tomkins with 0.6 – even though it was less than Scott Dann and Martin Kelly who duly replaced him when he got injured.
Indeed, Sakho is also a very important player when on the ball for Palace. He had the best successful passing percentage of any player in the Palace team last year with a success percentage of 88.6. He also had the second amount of average passes on the ball with 48.9, showing that he is often the start of attacks for Palace and is very comfortable and calm with the ball at his feet. All stats per WhoScored.
However, it is his leadership and influence on the pitch which makes him so important for the Eagles; Guardian journalist Dominic Fifield once described the defender as “a colossus – a leader and organiser, a warrior and inspiration”.
Many Palace fans will surely be delighted to see the fan-favourite return to the squad given the reasons above and they could have done with a leader to get their house in order during Sunday’s loss to Sheffield United, with even Patrick van Aanholt claiming the Blades ‘wanted it more’.
He has played at the highest levels both domestically and internationally, and that experience can be telling on the pitch so it’s not hard to imagine it being a big lift for the club when he can play again.
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