Better late than never: Eze wins first cap

Better late than never: Eze wins first cap

The Crystal Palace midfielder Eberechi Eze recently made his long-awaited England debut. It would have come at Euro 2020 had he not been injured

Eberechi Eze encountered many stops on his winding path to success. Starting on the streets of South London, Eze trialled unsuccessfully at West Ham before Arsenal signed him up. His union with Arsenal however ended in disappointment when he was released four years later because of his size. Over the next five years, Eze played for Fulham and Reading and trialled unsuccessfully at five different clubs.

It wasn’t until 2016 when he trialled at QPR that a breakthrough began to look likely. By this time he was close to giving up, having secured a job and preparing to further his education. While previous coaches had complained about his deficiencies in certain aspects of the game, the team at QPR chose to focus on his areas of strength. In the words of Paul Hall, a coach at QPR: “A lot of people used to say: ‘He needs to learn the other side of the game. Yes, you do, but the side of the game he was an expert at was supreme. I saw: ‘What can he do? How can we bring that out?’”

Eze credits this approach with the success he’s enjoying today.

Mr Hall would fit right in at HTT Academy where we emphasize the importance of confidence. One of our guiding principles in training players is to make them better at the things they’re already good at rather than focusing on their weak points. Eze’s spirit of resilience and determination also echoes what we teach our students about perseverance. We impress on our players that hard work and talent are not enough; they must also be ready to bounce back stronger after setbacks.

Eze has been linked with numerous clubs during this transfer window. Whether he stays at Palace or leaves, the only way for him is up.

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