Eberechi Eze earns first England call-up to ease Nigeria’s hopes

Crystal Palace midfielder, Eberechi Eze has received another senior call-up to the England national team for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.

The talented midfielder has been linked with playing for the Super Eagles with Amaju Pinnik, the immediate former president of the Nigeria Football Federation, believed to have held extensive talks with Eze.

In 2021, following an invitation to train with the Eagles in London, Pinnick said, “I’m pretty sure he’ll be playing for Nigeria soon.” That prediction seems far-fetched now.

His selection by Gareth Southgate on Wednesday could finally end all permutations of Eze representing Nigeria at international level as he joins a growing list of ‘Nigerians’ in the diaspora who have lost out to their resident countries .

Southgate’s inclusion of Ease in his 25-man squad for England’s next matches would be something many would agree with, as the Nigerian-born has been impressive diamond palace He has ten goals in the Premier League this season.

The young midfielder has been a standout player for Palace, demonstrating his skill, creativity and goal-scoring ability, and his consistent form has attracted the attention of Southgate, leading to another call-up to the senior national team.

England will go into their two matches in June sitting top of their Euro 2024 qualifying group after winning their opening matches against Italy and Ukraine in March.

It is worth noting that Eze has previously represented England at U20 and U21 levels between 2018 and 2021.

However, this promotion to the senior team marks an important milestone in his career.

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Are Super Eagles not cool anymore?

Although over the years some players of Nigerian origin have switched allegiance to play for the Super Eagles, this trend is slowly waning.

From Victor Moses to Sola Ameobi and then the likes of Ola Aina and Ademola Lookman, the Super Eagles have benefited from players cutting their teeth in England’s youth set-up.

However, it no longer looks like business as before, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and most recently Folarin Balogun having lost their chance to play for the Super Eagles.

It appears that those who know their responsibility now bide their time calling England or trying their luck in other countries for which they are entitled to pay.

Eze is the latest of this set, and could be given the likes of Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo, Michael Ollies and others just one more reason to hurry until the Three Lions come calling and take flight with the Super Eagles.

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While some players, such as Saka, have been denied a chance to play for Nigeria and selected for England, others have had their fingers chopped off due to poor decision-making.

One such is Gabby Agbonlahor, who made just three appearances for the England national team before retiring from international football. He made his debut on 15 November 2008 in a friendly against Germany.

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Agbonlahor’s other two appearances came in World Cup qualifiers, one on 14 October 2009 against Belarus and the other on 10 October 2009 against Ukraine.

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Although he never publicly expressed regret, many believe that Agbonlahor had the chance for a better international career with Nigeria and could even have participated in the World Cup with the Super Eagles.

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