BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
Roy Hodgson has backed Crystal Palace pair Eberechi Eze and Tyrick Mitchell to star for England U21s.
Earlier this month, an England U21 side featuring Eze qualified for the UEFA European Championship next year. Head coach Aidy Boothroyd praised the midfielder to the South London Press.
He also revealed that he will be watching Eze’s club teammate, defender Mitchell, as he prepares to name his squad for the final two qualifiers in November, which are now effectively dead rubbers.
“We want our players to represent England and we want them to do well,” said Palace boss Hodgson when asked about Eze and Mitchell representing the Three Lions. “Aidy’s bought both players up with you without me having rung him and told him that we’ve got two good U21s here that you should be looking at, which I wouldn’t want to do.”
Boothroyd also said consistency of playing games would be key if Mitchell were to make his squad for the first time, and it is something that the young defender will not have a problem with, according to the Palace boss.
“In terms of consistency there is no reason why Tyrick shouldn’t be considered,” said Hodgson to the South London Press. “He played the last three or four games before lockdown, he’s played all of our pre-season games and played the first five games (this season).
“In actual fact, he’s got a run of 10 games behind him which I think he’s performed consistently well in. If Aidy was concerned about his resilience or consistency of performance I don’t think he has any reason to doubt that at the moment, but of course, he’ll have to decide whether Tyrick has got the quality he’s looking for.”
In front of Mitchell for Palace is summer signing Eze, who came on a substitute in the England U21 victory against Turkey earlier this month which sealed that spot at the championship next year.
Boothroyd sung the praises of the former QPR player, admitting the key for him was getting the balance right around him with the attacking midfielder finding himself all over the pitch.
And while Hodgson agrees with the quality of the player, he knocked back the suggestion he would need a team built around him.
“We’re fully aware of what Eberechi brings and what he’s capable of,” said Hodgson. “His work in training is very good, but whether or not it’s right to suggest that you need to build a team around him I think that would be doing him a disservice.
“That’s virtually suggesting he’s not capable of fitting into a team pattern and you’ve just got to let him do what he wants to do at any moment in time on the field. I don’t think that’s the case, and it’s certainly not something we would entertain.
“We would expect him to, when he gets into the team in whichever position that may be, to follow the team patterns and to follow the things we’re trying to do and I must say having worked with him since the start of the season, I see in him that’s what we have bought. I guessed that’s what I was buying, and he’s made it very clear this is what you’re buying.
“We’re delighted to have him with us and I hoping that his U21 career will blossom. I for one will be hoping he continues to do well in Aidy’s team and get selected for next year’s European Championship.”
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