England update | Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze in line for provisional Three Lions call-up under Gareth Southgate

Eze featured Southgate’s provisional 33-man squad for Euro 2020 last summer before injury denied his chance of making a possible full England debut

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is just over one month away from the opening exchanges in what will be the fire time the Arab world will play host to the world’s most adored sporting event, and England will no doubt be viewed as one of the competition’s headline nations.

Under Gareth Southgate, the Three Lions reached the semi-finals four years ago in Russia while also losing out on penalties to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 last summer and many felt that the nation had a chance to end a near-60-year curse after England failed to win the tournament after that famous summer in 1966.

But Southgate’s men come into Qatar with far more questions than answers after an abysmal UEFA Nations League campaign that saw them relegated after finishing bottom of Group C without a win to their name as part of a group that comprised rivals Germany, Hungary, and Italy.

Despite the questions, Southgate has one of the deepest talent pools anywhere in the world, and as such, reports have suggested that the former Middlesbrough defender could name a 55-man provisional squad by Friday of this week as he begins the process of narrowing down who will be on the World Cup flight to Qatar. Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze is rumored to be among those that will make the initial list.

The 24-year-old midfielder has been one of the standout performers at Selhurst Park under fan-favorite boss Patrick Vieira after he has featured in all ten of the Eagles’ Premier League fixtures that have seen him produce a string of key performances while adding 2 goals and 2 assists to his CV for the season.

Eze was previously in Southgate’s train of thought last summer when he was initially included in the 33-man provisional squad for the Euros before an unfortunate injury ruled him out of possible selection, but this winter is an even more daunting task for the Greenwich native.

With Southgate boasting an impressive list of talent in both the forward line and midfield, Eze may reportedly be sitting in hope that a swath of injuries takes hold in the England player pool if he is to even receive a call-up let alone see time in Qatar on the pitch.

Regarding England’s midfield, Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, James Ward-Prowse, and Mason Mount are all but guaranteed selection for the squad, with Kalvin Phillips possibly keeping Southgate’s attention despite his struggling start since his move to Manchester City.

That leaves the forward line as a possible avenue for selection, which would see him come up against Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Jarrod Bowen, Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho as opposition for places in the team.

Nothing is ever out of the realm of possibility, but with Southgate’s propensity to keep loyalty in players regardless of form, Eze is certainly a long-short despite possibly being more deserving over a few of the aforementioned attacking assets in the England pool.

Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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