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Hodgson: Eze Will Get Better, Can Cope With Media Spotlight

Hodgson: Eze Will Get Better, Can Cope With Media Spotlight

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has demanded that Eberechi Eze be given time to develop his talent even as he is confident he can deal with media hype around him.

Eze, 22, looks set to become an even more prominent figure on the Premier League stage after a smooth transition from QPR to Crystal Palace in late August.

The former England U21 international has featured in all but two of the Eagles’ 34 matches this season.

Eze has been a breath of fresh air to a Palace side that at times was stifled by a lack of creativity from a central position. He produced a man of the match performance in the 2-0 win at Sheffield United on Saturday, setting up Christian Benteke for the opener before grabbing the second himself with a sublime solo effort in the closing stages.

Asked about the Greenwich-born playmaker’s start to life in SE25, Hodgson replied: “He’s had a good season – there’s no question of that. His progress has been solid – it’s been there all the time. I’ve seen him getting better – we know what he can do.

“But it’ll be a pity if all of a sudden now, every time he doesn’t reach that high level, people are going to be asking questions about him – or if he isn’t given the time to continue progressing at the pace he has been.

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“He understands at this stage of his life, he’s at the threshold of a fantastic career. But you know the threshold sometimes can be quite a long and large threshold – you don’t just step over it with one simple pace.”

When asked whether Eze was the type of personality who may react negatively to the ever-growing media attention, Hodgson said: “I don’t have any fears with regard to Eberechi at all. I think he’ll handle it, even if it goes over the top. He’ll handle it – I’m not worried about that at all because he’s such a level-headed person.

“He knows what he’s got to do and knows that a pat on the back one day becomes the kick up the backside the day after.

“But during a long career, I’ve seen a lot of situations where a player has burst on to the scene and got enormous praise, and then all of a sudden they haven’t been able to handle it.

“That won’t be the case for Eberechi. He’s getting a lot of praise for his performance against Sheffield United, but we’ve played 34 games this season – he’s played in almost every one – so there have been plenty of games where he’s seen the other side of the coin.

“He knows what he has got to do. He knows his ability. He knows that he’s a good player. He knows what he’s got to keep doing to make certain that he maintains that level of play and continues to improve on it.”

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