Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has praised Ebere Eze after the midfielder got a goal and an assist in the 2-0 win at Sheff Utd.
The 22-year-old joined from Championship side QPR amid plenty of hype and anticipation.
He showed once again why the Eagles paid £20million for his services at Bramall Lane.
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Eze was already causing Sheff Utd all sorts of problems within the first two minutes.
He raced past two players before playing the ball to Christian Benteke, whose shot was deflected into the net off George Baldock.
Benteke nearly made it two by heading a Jeffrey Schlupp cross towards goal, only for Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale to save brilliantly.
In the second half, Palace continued to look comfortable but couldn’t find a second goal.
Eze eventually stepped up to provide them with that cushion in the 88th minute.
He picked up the ball in his own half and dribbled past multiple players before shooting. His effort was deflected into the net, this time off John Fleck.
Speaking about Eze, Hodgson said: “[He was] very, very good. A difficult period, a bit of a baptism of fire with Chelsea, Man City, Leicester in a row. Not as easy to get on the ball and show skills.
“We know that’s the quality he possesses, we preach that we want to see it and we won’t criticise if he tries it and it doesn’t come off.
“He was bold with the ball, stayed on it, drove forward, and of course got his reward with an assist and a goal.”
When asked about Eze’s potential to become a Palace star, Hodgson added: “If you ask me if I’m happy with him this season, absolutely. He’s more than played his part.
“It’s his first season coming from the Championship and you expect a bit of time taken to adapt, especially with the gulf between the top teams and the bottom. You can’t beat teams anymore by organisation or work rate.”
The player’s brilliant performances at Selhurst Park this term have already seen him linked with a big money move.
But Hodgson has brushed those rumours aside: “We’ve only just signed him, [it’s] quite an investment to pay £15m and £5m in add-ons. I wasn’t contemplating that it would be a one-season investment.
“I hope that’s not the case and I believe any interest will be warded off, we brought him in to make us better, not make a small profit after one year.”
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