Everton manager Sam Allardyce defended under-fire Morgan Schneiderlin after the midfielder was booed by his own fans during the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.
The Frenchman has endured a difficult first 12 months at the club after arriving from Manchester United for £20million in January 2016, which reached its nadir when he and Kevin Mirallas were reportedly asked to leave training because of their attitude and dropped from the squad in early November.
That was under caretaker manager David Unsworth but since Allardyce took over, the 28-year-old has featured in every game.
The Toffees boss was taken aback when Schneiderlin was booed as he replaced the injured Idrissa Gana Gueye 10 minutes from the end.
“Surprised, very surprised. I’ve not heard it before,” Allardyce said.
“He is a very important part of the squad this year. Lots of players haven’t played to the potential they have.”
In addition to Gueye’s minor injury, Allardyce lost on-loan Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala to a knee problem just before the break and right-back Seamus Coleman, in only his second match back after a 10-month absence with a double fracture of his leg, was replaced for the start of the season half with a thigh issue.
“Seamus will go for a scan tomorrow. It is more his muscle than to do with his (broken) leg,” added Allardyce, whose side registered only their second win in 10 matches to ease the pressure.
This first Premier League meeting of two ex-England managers since Kevin Keegan’s Manchester City won 1-0 at home against Sir Bobby Robson’s Newcastle in May 2004, had been played against the backdrop of some animosity between Allardyce and Hodgson.
However, the Palace boss said his Everton counterpart had called to apologise for mockingly calling him “Woy” during Allardyce’s meeting with undercover reporters posing as businessmen which eventually cost him his job as national team manager.
“Sam called me on Thursday and he apologised, which I was happy to accept,” said Hodgson, who shook hands with Allardyce in the technical area before kick-off.
“As far as I am concerned that matter is belonging to the distant past and I have nothing more to say on the subject and I certainly have no issues with it.”
Despite the defeat leaving his side just two points off the bottom three, Hodgson said he could not criticise his players for their effort.
“First half I thought we did very well, in the second half we went 2-0 down but I thought we stayed in the game, working hard and playing hard, so I am not disappointed with them at all,” he added.
“But it is all about goals and Everton got them and we didn’t but there is no question of me being disappointed in the team. They did as much as I expected them to do but it would have been better if the first two goals hadn’t come as early as they did.”