ENGLAND manager Gareth Southgate is under pressure to invite playmaker Ebere Eze to his senior squad ahead of the impending European Championships to fend off interest from Nigeria after Super Eagles head coach said he fancies having the midfielder in his team.
Ebere, 22, has been the subject of a tug of war between Nigeria and England lately, with both nations desperately fighting for the services of the mercurial playmaker. Having already played for the England U21 team competitively, Ebere will need to undergo a switch through Fifa before he is eligible to feature for Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
It appears that Ebere has been holding out for a senior England call-up and had manager Gareth Southgate capped him, that would have ended the matter. However, that has not happened and the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick has met with Ebere in London and Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr is hoping that the player will apply for Fifa clearance so he can invite the player to camp.
Earlier this week, Mr Rohr said he still fancies his chances of getting Ebere to play for Nigeria and is hoping the player comes around. This has intensified pressure on Mr Southgate to call Ebere up for England’s forthcoming friendly match against Romania on June 6 and the European Championship squad.
England is due to kick off its European campaign on June 18 against Croatia and with Mr Southgate now allowed to pick 26 players in its squad, Ebere has an outside chance of being selected. If Ebere agrees to switch to Nigeria, it could take up to a year before his Fifa clearance comes through.
In the past, players Nigeria has successfully got to switch their allegiance from England include Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses and Ola Aina. At the moment, those with applications still pending before Fifa include Ademola Lookman, Ovie Ejaria and Michael Olise and Mr Rohr hopes that their application comes through before this summer’s African Cup of Nations.