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Soccer-Eze credits Hodgson’s ‘insane wisdom’ for England call

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LONDON (Reuters) – Eberechi Eze has credited the “insane wisdom” of veteran Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson for helping him earn a first call-up to the England senior squad.

The 24-year-old is part of England manager Gareth Southgate’s squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta away on Friday and at home to North Macedonia on Monday.

“I am very grateful to Roy for all he did in helping me regain form. He helped me massively with my mental state too,” winger Eze, who scored 10 Premier League goals last season, told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

“He advises me all the time, he has insane wisdom.”

Hodgson, 75, returned to Crystal Palace after Patrick Vieira was sacked in March, and immediately guided them away from relegation danger.

London-born Eze suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury in May 2021 when he was close to an England call, setting his career back. But he impressed throughout the last campaign.

“You can see from what he did coming back how effective he (Hodgson) was. The influence he had on the players, the mindset and freedom we played with. That is something we hadn’t had for a while,” Eze said.

With two wins from two games, England are already firm favourites to win Group C and qualify for the finals in Germany and while Southgate is usually reluctant to tinker too much with his starting lineup, Eze could feature against Malta.

“Naturally there is always something you want next. I am grateful to be in this position,” Eze said when asked whether he was confident of making his debut.

“I have worked hard, no one has done me any favours as I deserve to be here.”

Eze will have team mate Marc Guehi for company during his international duty.

“He has been speaking to me a bit about it. He has helped a lot in terms of making me feel settled. It is all a good experience,” he said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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