On Wednesday afternoon, Gareth Southgate named his 25-man squad that will play for the Three Lions in the UEFA European Championships qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia in late June.
The squad consisted of regulars like Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice, but one of the players who caught the eye of Super Eagles fans was Crystal Palace forward Eberechi Eze.
The 24-year-old, born in Greenwich, Greater London, to Nigerian parents, was eligible to play for England and the Nigeria Super Eagles. However, it looks like Eze has decided where he wants to play international football, as he is set to get his first cap for England after being called up to the squad by Gareth Southgate.
Eze’s decision to play for England over the Nigeria National Football team is a blow for the Super Eagles as the squad needs more talent in midfield. That part of the pitch has been a problem of late as there is a lack of strength in depth, especially at the number 10 position.
How Eze Could Have Fit in the Super Eagles Squad
Eze is a dynamic attacking talent capable of playing in many positions. He has played on the left wing, on the right wing, as a number 10 behind the striker and in the number eight position in a midfield three. His skillset allows him to play in these positions effortlessly.
Eze is an excellent dribbler. He can glide past players either in midfield or on the wing, which is why he can play in several positions. He can make solo runs from deeper positions, which help advance the attack and create opportunities out of nothing.
Incredible Solo Goal: Eberechi Eze runs three-quarters of field to carve opponents apart single-handedly before rifling home like some kind of English Najee Harris 🙌👀 pic.twitter.com/S0geOqa7M4
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) January 2, 2021
Eze also has a great final ball and is a good chance creator. His four assists in the Premier League this season is evidence of that. He is also a goal threat due to his brilliant technique and ball striking. He can take long-range shots, score set pieces, and is a good finisher in different situations. His 10 league goals provide ample proof.
— Team Called Palace (@TCPalacePod) November 7, 2022
His ability to play multiple positions and be effective wherever he is put would have made him a great tool for the Super Eagles, but his ability to play as the number 8 or 10 will be crucial for a team that plays a 4-3-3 system. He can also be one of the wide midfielders in a 4-4-2.
Would Eze Have Started for the Super Eagles?
The player who plays a similar role to Eze in midfield is Everton’s Alex Iwobi. The Nigerian midfielder has found his best form in this position and has been one of the most consistent Super Eagles players.
Iwobi is tasked with a lot of the creative burden from midfield without much support on the bench or the pitch to help him out. Eze would have been a direct competitor for that role as he may not be favoured to play on the wings.
There is also the possibility that Eze could have played alongside Iwobi in the midfield, with Wilfred Ndidi protecting them when they play inferior sides.
While he has chosen to play for England, the possibilities for Eze on the Nigeria Super Eagles squad would have been endless. His impact on the team would have been larger than a more talented England side in his position.
This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago