The Afternoon That Eze Convinced Elland Road He Was A Star
Published: August 24, 2020
The Afternoon That Eze Convinced Elland Road He Was A Star

Eberechi Eze epitomized what a breakthrough season is by playing in every single Championship game for Queens Park Rangers during the 2019/2020 season. Not only was Eze an ever-present, but he also contributed 14 goals and eight assists from an advanced midfield role. It was a magnificent season from the 22-year-old, full of consistency as well as flair, so much so that it wasn’t only the Loftus Road faithful who were in awe of him but also opposition supporters. 

Indeed, despite the tribalism that exists in English football, there is often a willingness to acknowledge a rare talent; something that Eze most certainly is. If you go back to the 2019 autumn kick-off against Leeds at Elland Road where the West Yorkshire side won by a scoreline of 2-0, you will get a sense of that ‘credit where it is due’ attitude from the opposition. 

Marcelo Bielsa had asked Kalvin Phillips, Leeds’ golden boy, and a player that Gareth Southgate is poised to call up to the England team, to watch Eze closely and neutralize his effect on proceedings. What followed over the next 90 minutes was the total opposite as Eze pulled Phillips all around Elland Road, and made him look like a run-of-the-mill Championship holding midfielder and not a future England international, that could well go on to be a mainstay of the Three Lions set up over the next ten years. 

Leeds would run out winners but there was a ripple of polite applause For Eze by the Elland Road crowd as he made his way off the ground. 

Business ?#GodIsGreat

— Ebere (@EbereEze10) January 1, 2019

Many of those same supporters are now hoping that Eze will swap the hoops of QPR for the Whites of Leeds and it has to be said, it's looking increasingly likely that QPR boss Mark Warburton will lose his star man sooner rather than later. 

Although for all their interest, Leeds haven’t made an official bid. Instead, that has been done by fellow Premier League team Crystal Palace, who have had a £12m bid rejected by QPR. It looks as if QPR chairman Amit Bhatia won’t budge on his valuation of Eze, which looks to be around the £16-18m mark.

So far, Eze has been the model professional and hasn’t tried to push a move through to either team. Hypothetically, let’s say Leeds do join the race for the young starlet; they could indeed be the more enticing option for Eze given Marcelo Bielsa’s ability to turn good players into world-class ones. Furthermore, as for the two fortunes of the clubs over the course of the 2020/2021 season, punters may actually be surprised to see the football betting odds online favor Crystal Palace to be relegated instead of Leeds, despite the West Yorkshire club only recently joining the top flight for the first time in 16 years. 

The Eagles are at 2/1 to go down whilst the Whites find themselves priced at 4/1 to experience the same fate.

The run ?

The penalty ?

Eberechi Eze - remember the name ?

— Goal (@goal) October 21, 2019

In fact, the growing feeling is that Bielsa's style of football is more suited to the Premier League than that of the Championship, which may be why pundits the world over are expecting Leeds to take England’s top flight by storm.

Everything suggests that life at Elland Road over the next 12 months will be as exciting and as rewarding as anywhere in world football, with this in mind, you could be forgiven for thinking Eze is indeed hoping that interest from up North does materialize into an official bid.

Ifeanyi Emmanuel

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