Home BETTING TIPS Southgate should not overlook Eze for his Euro 2024 squad

Southgate should not overlook Eze for his Euro 2024 squad

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England manager Gareth Southgate has a lot of tough decisions to make with his squad ahead of Euro 2024. The debate over who is best placed to play a supporting role to captain Harry Kane up front is perhaps the most prominent, but arguably selecting playmakers will be the biggest challenge before the squad fly out to Germany in June.

The clamour around Phil Foden is strong right now, and it is a source of frustration for many of Southgate’s critics because it seems unlikely he will ever be played in a central area. Cole Palmer, Foden’s former Manchester City team-mate, has propelled himself into the forefront of the conversation having scored 20 Premier League goals in his first first season at Chelsea, carrying the Blues in what has been a difficult season. After an impressive start to life at Tottenham, James Maddison has tailed off somewhat, but has certainly shown what he could offer.

Somebody who shouldn’t be disregarded, despite his chances of a call up being remote is Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze. The 25-year-old has two caps, and probably hasn’t made a big enough impact on that level compared to his competition at that level. But his impact at Palace deserves consideration, and should also alert the top scouts all across Europe. After a season of injury struggles, restricting Eze to just 23 Premier League appearances this season, he showed what everybody has been missing in a stunning 5-2 victory over West Ham on Sunday, with a goal and an assist for Oliver Glasner’s side; that came after netting the winner in a stunning win over Liverpool at Anfield a week earlier. It was his eighth goal of the season, which in itself shows development and improvement; he is now just two goals and one assist shy of his tallies for last season, when he didn’t miss a game.

But that impressive output is arguably less a part of what makes Eze so good than the impact he has on Palace and games generally. He drops into little pockets and gets teams on the back foot while driving his on further; he isn’t afraid to try things but doesn’t try them for trying sake. He is the ultimate street footballer with professional intelligence and mindset. He has an x-factor that Southgate and a number of Premier League managers, who will undoubtedly be looking for reinforcements high up the pitch, should ignore. Eze is tactically minded and still plays with freedom; these days, that is rare.

He’s also incredibly resilient, which comes from the hard yards of football trials and trying, often failing, to make it at academies. Eze was rejected a lot; he is no work-shy show pony.

“At a young age, it was hard, especially being released,” he told Premier League Productions.

“Me and my mum cried, everyone was so upset – that’s all you know at that age. But looking back at it now, that’s the start of my journey and I’m grateful to God that’s how it went.

“If it wasn’t for that, I may not have got the resilience, bravery, to go and be who I want to be elsewhere. It’s shaped me to be who I am today.”

Palace took the gamble to take Eze from QPR in 2020 and it has paid off. In him and Michael Olise, they have two players ready for the next step. Unfortunately for them, they are fully reliant on the pair of them; this season has been a slog while both have battled injuries. Glasner came in to replace Roy Hodgson after a terrible run.

Eventually, though, they’ll have to learn to live without them, like they did without Wilfried Zaha. Bothof them and Eze in particular, are ready to go to the next level and fly.