Saturday, June 10, 2023

Nigeria loses Crystal Palace midfielder Eberechi Eze to England

Super Eagles target Eberechi Eze has been handed a national team call-up by England.

and • May 25, 2023
Eberechi Eze
Eberechi Eze

Super Eagles target Eberechi Eze has been handed a national team call-up by England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of Three Lions Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, ending speculation about the Crystal Palace player’s international career.

But his 10 goals and four assists in the Premier League for Crystal Palace this season earned him a place in the squad.

The 24-year-old was born in England to Nigerian parents.

The Nigerian Football Federation had previously tried to get the midfielder to switch allegiance to Nigeria so he could play for the Super Eagles. If he makes his competitive debut in any of the forthcoming matches, he will no longer be able to play for Nigeria.

But his 10 goals and four assists in the Premier League for Crystal Palace this season earned a place in the Three Lions squad this time.

In the list released by Southgate on Wednesday, Eze was named alongside 24 other players, including Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka.

Eze joined a growing list of players (Saka, Dele Alli, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Gabby Agbonlahor, etc.) that have chosen to represent England at the international football level over Nigeria.

On June 16, England play Malta in Ta’ Qali before taking on North Macedonia three days later at Old Trafford.

The Three Lions top the early Group C table after beating Italy and Ukraine in their opening two qualifying matches in March.

Meanwhile, last week, both England and Nigeria were on the losing end as Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun, born to Nigeria parents in the United States but grew up in England, ditched the two countries to pledge his allegiance to the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).

The 21-year-old, currently playing for French Ligue 1 side Reim, has been impressive for his club this season, with 20 goals and two assists in 35 matches as he continues his development away from Emirates.

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