Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has been talking to the media ahead of the club’s Premier League opener against Southampton, with Eberechi Eze very much part of the conversation.
The Eagles moved to sign the 22-year-old in a deal worth £19.5 million from QPR, and it sounds as if the south Londoners have high hopes for the attacking midfielder.
In addition to him being handed a five-year contract, Hodgson has shown added faith by also waxing lyrical about the ex-Millwall man.
The 73-year-old said that Palace are ‘convinced’ they have signed the right player, and also played down question marks over Eze’s ability to make the step up.
“Eberechi Eze is a very good signing who will be with us for a number of years… Eberechi has the ability and personality. I have no fears about him stepping up… We’re convinced we’ve signed the right player, the right player in terms of his ability and his character.”
It is refreshing to see the ex-England manager so enthusiastic towards an attacking midfielder, who some may have doubted would fit into Hodgson’s plans due to his treatment of Max Meyer.
The diminutive German is a player who has shown he can pull strings and be neat when operating behind the striker at Selhurst Park.
However, since arriving from Schalke on a free transfer, Meyer has never really been a favourite of the Palace boss. The 24-year-old made only six league starts last season.
Hodgson’s rigid structure – which saw Palace score just 31 league goals last term – saw questions marks arise over where Eze would fit into an industrial midfield.
The experienced manager favoured less creative but hardworking options last season such as James McCarthy, James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate. As a result, there was no place for flair options such as Meyer.
Hodgson’s glowing comments on his new signing offer some relief over that concern, at least.