Crystal Palace midfielder, Eberechi Eze, has received yet 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 the immediate past president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, believed to have held extensive talks with Eze.
In 2021, after an invitation to train with the Eagles in London, Pinnick said, “I am confidently hopeful he will play for Nigeria soon.” That prediction looks far-fetched now.
His selection by Gareth Southgate on Wednesday may have finally ended all permutations of Eze representing Nigeria at the international level as he joins the growing list of ‘Nigerians’ in the diaspora lost to their resident countries.
Many will agree with Southgate’s inclusion of Eze in his 25-player squad for England‘s next set of matches, as the Nigeria-born player has been impressive for Crystal Palace this season in the Premier League with ten goals to his name.
The young midfielder has been a standout player for Palace, showcasing his skill, creativity, and goal-scoring ability, and his consistent form has caught the attention of Southgate, leading to another call-up to the senior national team.
England go into their two games in June, sitting on top of their EURO 2024 qualifying group after winning their opening matches with Italy and Ukraine in March.
It is worth noting that Eze has previously represented England at the U20 and U21 levels between 2018 and 2021.
However, this promotion to the senior squad marks a significant milestone in his career.
Are the Super Eagles no longer attractive?
Though a couple of players of Nigerian descent in the past years have switched allegiance to play for the Super Eagles, the trend is gradually waning.
From Victor Moses to Sola Ameobi and then the likes of Ola Aina and Ademola Lookman, the Super Eagles have benefitted from players who cut their teeth in England’s youth set-up.
However, it is no longer looking like business as usual as lately, the likes of Bukayo Saka, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, and recently Folarin Balogun have ditched the chance to play for the Super Eagles
It appears those who know their onus now bid their time to get the England call-up or try their luck in other countries they are eligible to pay for.
Eze is the latest in this set, and the likes of Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo, Micheal Olise and a host of others may have just been given another reason to be patient until the Three Lions come calling and not hurry to fly with the Super Eagles.
While some players like Saka have been vindicated, refusing to play for Nigeria and opting for England, others have bitten their fingers, having made a wrong decision.
One such is Gabby Agbonlahor, who made just three appearances for the England national team before retiring from international football. He debuted on November 15, 2008, in a friendly match against Germany.
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Agbonlahor’s other two appearances came in World Cup qualifiers, with one against Belarus on October 14, 2009, and another against Ukraine on October 10, 2009.
Though he never publicly aired any regret, many believe Agbonlahor stood the chance of a better international career with Nigeria and could have even featured at the World Cup with the Super Eagles.
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