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Matt Holland's Blog 13

14 November 2012

Wilfried Zaha, a player that tormented Peterborough United on Saturday, celebrated an England call-up this week, and that's great news for the npower Championship. He's in a rich vein of form and has been outstanding all season long, so it's hard not to argue that he deserved a chance to be part of the international set-up.

It's a double-edged sword for Palace who must be proud of Zaha's achievements but also fearful of the interest in him rising from other clubs. He's suddenly a player that is on everybody's January shopping list and if they are forced to sell, I do fear for their promotion chances. On the plus side, all this publicity and attention will definitely add a few million to his price tag- which is a decent compromise I guess.

If they do sell, I think Palace have every right to demand a huge fee. The likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Connor Wickham weren't sold on the cheap, so when the time comes I hope the Eagles get the price they think he merits.

Comments by Steve Bruce caught my eye this week when he said he's going to have to start rotating his Hull City squad because of the incredible demands players are put under at this level. I know that Tony Mowbray feels the same way, and has rested some regulars recently as a result.

I do wonder if all the data clubs have at their disposal now puts ideas into their heads, though. In my day a manager could only judge if a player is tired by what he sees, but now every Monday morning, they have access to stats that show how far everyone has run, and how it compares to previous performances.

The game's progressing fast, with so much more information available than there used to be, but in my view there is no better tool in football than your eyes. If a player is leggy and looks like he's running on empty you can see it for yourself, and there's no need to rely on science. I see why it's used but player statistics don't always tell the full story.

I'd be gutted to be rested if I was still a player, but I see the sense in it occasionally because 46 Championship games can take their toll.

Last word this week goes to Michael Appleton who has taken over as the new Blackpool manager.

He's had to work in testing circumstances at Portsmouth and coped well, and I know that he's very highly regarded by those who know him within the game.

Ian Holloway is a tough act to follow but Appleton and Blackpool appears to be a pretty good fit.

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