Crystal Palace crashed to a mammoth 4:0 defeat to Chelsea in the English Premer League this weekend with most Nigerian fans focusing on the performance of Eberechi Eze to determine what the winger has to offer.
Having been approached to represent Nigeria ahead of England, Eze is yet to make up his mind with patience from Nigeria fans running thin as they would like him to make his decision sooner rather than later.
Eze made a high profile transfer to Crystal Palace over the summer from the English Championship where his dribbling abilities and composed finishes won him critical acclaim last season.
But so far in the English Premer League, in the matched he has featured thus far, his dribbles have been far less effective than they were in the Championship last season.
Rather than trying to attempt take-ons, perhaps Eze should lay more emphasis on hold up play, movements and releasing the ball early.
Clearly, he has some dribbling abilities but these aren’t crisp enough to have the sort of impacts they helped him generate in the English Championship.
I guess now I can see why some of my football-friends derisively call Eze the English-Championship-Modric.
Modric, Sane, Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez, Mahrez and Sterling are some of the world class players who have high success rates with their take-ons. Even when they fail to beat their man, the technique they employ often allows them to retain possession and still do something meaningful with the ball.
For Eze, even after beating his man, he is far less in control of himself leading to the subsequent pass missing the target or another defender coming quickly to clear the ball. His take-on output are scarcely productive.
Eze will have to either need to somehow upgrade his take-on technique to suit the level of football that he finds himself or he will have to re-invent his style of play to match the calibre of opponents he will be facing.
If he thinks Championship skills will help him attract critical acclaim in the Premier League, he is sorely mistaken.
As a neutral observer of football, I wish Eze all the best. In truth, he does look like an exciting talent. In the coming weeks, I think he will adapt his game and will grow into his new premier league environment.
He is a willing runner with nimble feet and ability to attract fouls in dangerous areas when he drives through defences. He can also score some truly delightful goals.
But, will we see him churn out the sort of jaw dropping dribbling manoeuvres finished up with breath-taking goals that produced time and time again in the English Championship?
From evidence of what I have seen thus far, I doubt it.
The Premier League is a different ball game. Eze needs to get with the program.
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