EPL

Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze receives first England call-up

By Sports Desk May 24, 2023

Eberechi Eze received his first call-up and Lewis Dunk returned four-and-a-half years after his only cap as Gareth Southgate named the England squad for June’s Euro 2024 qualifiers.

Having kicked off Euro 2024 qualification with wins over Italy and Ukraine, Group C continues with next month’s double header against Malta and North Macedonia.

Southgate has named a 25-man squad, with Eric Dier and Raheem Sterling the high-profile absentees and Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Eze the only uncapped player in the group.

Brighton captain Dunk returned for the first time since making his debut against the United States in November 2018.

Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings, Sam Johnstone and Trent Alexander-Arnold also returned to the fold.

Sterling, who has won 82 caps, has endured a difficult first season since joining Chelsea from Manchester City.

A representative for the forward said: “Following a private conversation between coach and player, a mutual decision has been made for Raheem Sterling to sit out the upcoming internationals, focusing instead on recuperating his body in preparation for the upcoming season.”

Related items

  • Mateta 'finishing everything that comes to him' as Palace rout Villa Mateta 'finishing everything that comes to him' as Palace rout Villa

    Jean-Philippe Mateta is "finishing everything that comes to him", according to his Crystal Palace team-mate Eberechi Eze.

    Palace thumped fourth-placed Aston Villa 5-0 at home on the last day of the Premier League season to seal an unlikely top-10 finish, with Mateta scoring a hat-trick and Eze adding two goals of his own.

    They ended the season with a seven-match unbeaten run under Oliver Glasner, who made a huge impact after replacing Roy Hodgson in February.

    Mateta has been a huge beneficiary, as since Glasner's first game in charge on February 24, he has scored 13 Premier League goals, which is more than any other player in the competition.

    He ended the campaign with 16 top-flight goals, putting him level with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Jarrod Bowen in the scoring charts. Only Andrew Johnson has netted more for the Eagles across a single campaign in the competition, when he netted 21 in 2004-05.

    "He is what I'm playing for," Eze said about Mateta, per Palace's official website.

    "He is finishing everything that comes to him, which makes our life a lot easier when I'm playing for him, so it's good.

    "I did come close [to a hat-trick myself], but the most important thing is putting in good performances. We're all going to flourish, we're all going to have games where we score.

    "We're preparing the work and we're doing the work before we go on to the pitch, so we're enjoying it, that's the main thing."

    The match also saw Mateta become just the second Frenchman to score in seven home Premier League home appearances in a row, after Thierry Henry for Arsenal between May and October 2004.

    Eze has also finished the season with a flourish, ending the campaign with 11 goals and four assists.

    Mateta is among those who have called for him to earn a place in the England squad for Euro 2024.

    "Of course it's an honour [to play for your country]," said Eze. "It would be a great experience.

    "I think it is a dream for any player to play in any big tournament. But the main thing, I'm being realistic. It is what it is: if I get a call, I get a call.

    "But the main thing is doing what I need to do for my club, and that's the performance."

    Villa are the first side to concede five or more goals in their first and final matches of a top-flight season since Manchester City in 1962-63, having been beaten 5-1 at Newcastle on the opening weekend.

    But they were magnificent in between those two losses, enjoying a campaign to remember as they qualified for the Champions League, confounding pre-season expectations.

    "Thank you to our supporters because even today they were with us," said Villa boss Unai Emery after Sunday's loss.

    "We achieved our objective on Tuesday [when UCL qualification was confirmed] and we did everything we could with our supporters in Villa Park on Monday [in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool].

    "They were travelling here to be with us, supporting us so we are disappointed with the result, but we have to accept it.

    "We have to be happy and share with our supporters the whole season, not just today. Every match is very important and we lost, but we’d achieved our target.

    "We have to accept it and keep going forward. Now it’s time to rest and try to follow our players with their national teams and prepare as best as possible the next season.

    "We have to enjoy the season we did and we’re very excited for the next season, but we have to take our time now."

  • Walker: Man City driven on by creating history Walker: Man City driven on by creating history

    Kyle Walker believes Manchester City were spurred on by creating history to a fourth straight Premier League title.

    A Phil Foden double and a Rodri strike saw City beat West Ham 3-1 on Sunday as they claimed a fourth consecutive Premier League crown, finishing two points above Arsenal.

    In doing so, City became the first team ever to win England's top division four times in a row, and Walker feels that was one of the key motivations behind the team finishing top of the Premier League pile yet again.

    When asked if creating history had driven him and his team-mates on, Walker told Sky Sports: "I think so, I think so. We went out of the Champions League, got into the FA Cup final, but to do this, make it four in a row, it made it something special.

    "It has been spoken about all year what we can achieve and the history we can make. But it is about the finer details. It was down to just one game and that game was West Ham United. We get past that then we make history, but more importantly we claim the Premier League again.

    "It is a very, very tough league to win. I looked at the Italian league, German league, Spanish league, the winners are 10, 15 points clear. Fair play to Arsenal and Liverpool for what they have done throughout the season, making sure they push us right to the limit."

    Walker turns 34 later this month but has shown little signs of slowing down, playing an integral role again this season on his way to a sixth Premier League title of his decorated career.

    Walker still feels he is capable of playing at the top level, saying: "I feel young. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I feel young, I feel great, I still have my pace.

    "I come to training every day wanting to learn. Once that goes then it is probably time to pack up, but this group of lads keeps you on your toes. They keep on you to keep improving every day."

    Walker has been City's captain this season, making his 300th appearance for the club in the title-securing win over West Ham.

    The defender was keen to emphasise that it has been a collective effort this term, though, explaining: "I am the man at the front and I wear the armband, but I don't put myself above anyone else. We are a team.

    "There are four captains including myself, and we all pull our weight. I am just the man they've picked to wear the armband which I am very grateful for. To be able to lift the trophy in this scenario, the four in a row, it is a dream come true."

  • Ancelotti focused on fitness and rhythm despite Villarreal comeback against Madrid Ancelotti focused on fitness and rhythm despite Villarreal comeback against Madrid

    Carlo Ancelotti was unbothered by Real Madrid's failed attempt to defend a three-goal lead against Villarreal, instead focusing on avoiding injuries and keeping their rhythm.

    A double from Arda Guler, as well as goals from Joselu and Lucas Vazquez, had Madrid in control at 4-1 up away to Villarreal on Sunday.

    Yet Alexander Sorloth, who pulled a goal back earlier on, managed three goals in eight minutes to salvage a 4-4 draw for the hosts against the LaLiga champions.

    Despite faltering to a late comeback, Ancelotti was more than pleased with his side's efforts, ahead of the upcoming Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund on June 1 at Wembley Stadium.

    "The target was not the points because we don't need them, the target was to play a good game with rhythm, intensity, avoiding injuries. Everything went perfectly," he told a post-match press conference.

    "I'm not worried ahead of the Champions League final, this was an open game.

    "Maybe we conceded more goals than necessary but that's okay, it doesn't change anything about what the final has to be. In attack, we played well."

    Villarreal are set to finish eighth in the LaLiga table, unable to be caught by any team below and incapable of reaching seventh-placed Real Betis.

    Sorloth may end with an individual award, though, after scoring his league-leading 23rd goal of the season with the fourth of his quartet of strikes.

    "It was a match with a lot of goals, the kind that the fans like," Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno, who provided three assists, told Movistar. 

    "I'll take the reaction in the second half. We will try to go to Europe next year.

    "I hope Sorloth ends up top scorer. He's a fantastic teammate. He deserves it. We're going to try to help him. He's had an incredible season."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.