NIGERIAN-born midfielder Ebere Eze is poised to feature for Crystal Palace tonight when his club faces Arsenal in an English Premier League match despite facing disciplinary action for ignoring Covid-19 protocols over the weekend when he attended an FA Cup game.
Ebere, 22, joined Crystal Palace from Championship side Queens Park Rangers (QPR) in the summer on a five-year deal reported to be around £17m. A QPR hero, Eze was invited by the club to be a guest at its FA Cup game against Fulham on Saturday, where he say in the directors box but failed to observe social distancing and did not wear a mask.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that the club will deal with the matter internally, saying that it was naive for Eze to have acted the way he did. He added that fellow London club QPR admitted they made a mistake by hosting Eze without Crystal Palace being made aware.
Mr Hodgson said: “A lot of naivety on his part thinking it was ok but it obviously isn’t. Does what Eze did deserve leaving him out? I don’t think so but it does merit a fine as we don’t want our players breaching coronavirus regulations.
“He did it naively and foolishly, not a determined gesture to break a rule but he did and we’re not happy at all. I’m not a big fan of fining but on this occasion, I think this error of judgment deserves it and he has to be cautious not to make them again.”
Currently sitting 13th in the league table with 22 points from 17 games, Crystal Palace face a confident Arsenal side who are 11th with 23 points after winning their last three league games. Mr Hodgson will need the inform Eze for this crunch game as he said he believes Arsenal are one of the best teams in the country despite their poor start this season.
Crystal Palace have not lost to the Gunners in almost three years but will face a resurgent side, so need to be at their best. Nigerian Football Federation chairman Amaju Pinnick and Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr are keen to get Ebere Eze to feature for Nigeria but so far he has not made any decision on who to play for at senior level.