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Hope rises for Nigeria as Hodgson says Eze not yet good enough for Three Lions

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Crystal Palace’s English midfielder Eberechi Eze celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Selhurst Park in south London on January 30, 2021. (Photo by Julian Finney / POOL / AFP)

A former head coach of the England national team believes Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze will someday be good enough to play for the Three Lions but is not yet ready to make the step up.

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The 22-year-old Eze, who is eligible to play for Nigeria and has been approached in the past by both the president of the Nigeria Football Federation Amaju Pinnick and Super Eagles handler Gernot Rohr, grabbed his third goal of the season in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Wolves to continue his fine start at Selhurst Park, following a summer switch from QPR.

And his manager at Crystal Palace, Roy Hodgson, who was once in charge of England, in an interview with Sky Sports, said: “I would like to think that like Jack Grealish before him, whom I found myself in a situation of needing to speak to, to try to persuade him he was good enough to play for England and that he should perhaps give it a chance, I would certainly say the same to Eberechi Eze if I was in that sort of situation.”

When Hodgson was in charge of England, he had to convince Grealish to pick the Three Lions over the Republic of Ireland.

Continuing, the former Liverpool, Inter Milan and Switzerland national team boss said: “Is he ready at the moment? I wouldn’t think so. I think there are so many players in his position and of his type; it would be very bold of me to suggest he could go in front of them.

“He is a member of the under-21 side and I would like to think and hope he keeps his position there and that he keeps improving and keeps in the eye line of Gareth Southgate and the other England coaches while he is working there.

“And at the same time of course his performances are monitored in the Premier League, but I’m more than happy with the progress he is making and the difference he has made as a player to our team.

“I think he will need a bit more of that before we start trying to raise him up even higher because already he has taken quite a big step.”


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