How Eberechi Eze became the midfielder Patrick Vieira craved under Roy Hodgson
Eberechi has shown that he’s got all the skillset to be the best player if Wilfried Zaha leaves in the summer, but how has he done it.
Eze looks a happy man now after wrestling back his spot in the starting eleven and enjoying the attention that comes with being the main man at Crystal Palace.
The 24-year-old is enjoying his best form since moving to the Premier League with 37 outings and 10 goals to show for it, the highest by any Palace player this season and three more than star man Wilfried Zaha.
Beyond the goals Eze has been graceful to watch, a complete transformation from the bench role he was asked to play under Patrick Vieira with the team going 12 games in all competitions without a win.
He looked lost and mostly uninterested in Vieira’s last days and sources say he didn’t take to Vieira’s strict way of wanting things to be done which affected his mood, his confidence, and ultimately his performance.
Roy Hodgson’s arrival has just transformed the English midfielder and it will not be a surprise if he makes the England team for the next international games.
Eze carries the ball in a unique way that makes it hard to dispose of and has grown into a game changer exemplified by his brace against Bournemouth that won the game, his Man of the Match performance against Leeds United, and his brilliant free-kick against Leicester that brought his side back into the game before they ultimately winning it.
He’s been the perfect midfielder, with goals and big performances, something Vieira had tried without success to unlock before his untimely sacking in March.
It is quite ironic that Jordan Ayew, a Vieira favourite has scored more under Roy Hodgson than he did under Vieira- and that is a credit to the veteran manager who has turned up and rescued a team that was fighting for a win to one that is competing effectively and winning more than they are losing at the moment.
He literally is everything that Vieira wanted and more, and there is no doubt the Palace would have picked up more wins had he turned up a few weeks earlier.
One of the underrated skills of coaching is simply allowing players to express themselves on the pitch, Roy Hodgson hasn’t changed much at Palace, he’s simply put his hands around Eze, reminded him of why he was highly sought after at QPR and how he came close to making the England team for the Euros before a brutal injury denied him that.
He’s simply come in and done what veteran managers will do, and that is go back to the basics and put players in positions where they can hurt teams, and it’s working.
Palace will finish comfortably in midtable and Eze will enjoy his best season so far as a Palace player, it’s hard not to admire how he’s already looking like a world-beater just two months under Roy Hodgson.