Crystal Palace’s untapped attacking potential has been realised following the return of veteran manager Roy Hodgson and with four goals in six games, Eberechi Eze is coming of age as the jewel in Palace’s crown. Having arrived from QPR in 2020, Eze has shown his ability in spurts, from trademark free-kicks to mazy runs, but he saw his momentum curtailed by an Achilles injury that would see him sidelined for up to six months.
On the cusp of an England call-up prior to the injury, it felt like the worst possible timing for Eze, but this South London baller is made of stronger stuff, and his performances this season have proven why he deserves international recognition. In an interview with the YouTube channel and podcast Baller Talk, Eze explained the mental strains of such a long-term injury.
“It was a tough journey. It took everything from me. Every day was working towards getting my Achilles and whole body better – how can I improve myself, and how can I use this time when I’m not playing football to maximise myself? For all that I went through and all that I’d seen on this journey, I know for a fact that I’m in a better place because of that experience.”
Back to fitness and enjoying the freedom of playing through the middle once again, Eze has become the focal point of Palace’s attack. Supplemented by his brother in arms, and fellow EFL graduate Michael Olise, Palace have scored 13 goals in just seven games under Hodgson – they’d scored just 22 times in the previous 28 Premier League games.
Eze is thriving as the talisman of Palace’s team, providing match-winning moments against Southampton and West Ham to help the Eagles reach the 40-point mark, whilst his strike against Southampton saw him win the club’s Goal of the Month award to cap off an excellent April for the midfielder.
With Bournemouth, Fulham, and Nottingham Forest still to come, Eze will fancy his chances of breaking the ten-goal barrier for the first time in his career. In a season of such uncertainty for both player and club, Eze is still feeling his way back into senior football following his injury. Such a landmark goal tally would suitably announce his return to the rest of the league.
It is yet to be seen whether the 24-year-old can continue in this rich vein of form. Consistency has been an issue for him over the years. But with Premier League safety secured for next season, Palace can begin to build towards a longer-term future with Eze front and centre.
By: Sam Tabuteau / @TabuteauS
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Sebastian Frej/MB Media / Getty Images Sport