Interview: Eberechi Eze opens up on injury nightmare and special bond with Michael Olise

Eberechi Eze was on the verge of an England call-up, when he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, however the talented Crystal Palace midfielder is on the way back.

When Crystal Palace signed Eberechi Eze from QPR for £19.5million, he was supposed to herald the South London takeover and lead the club into a bright future with his silky style of play.

It didn’t take long before the Holmesdale faithful at Selhurst Park started to fall in love with him, and just as he was establishing himself in the Premier League disaster struck.

The 22-year-old turned up for training as always at Palace’s Beckenham base, and was nicking the ball off teammates and gliding through tackles when he heard a snap in his Achilles.

Eberechi Eze playing last season, before his Achilles injury. Credit: Rui Vieira - Pool/Getty Images

Christian Benteke was the first to rush to him, and when the medics arrived they knew he had damaged something significant.

To add insult to injury, a few hours after leaving training ahead he saw a message from England manager Gareth Southgate asking him if he had a moment to talk on the phone.

On a phone call with Southgate to talk about a potential Three Lions call up, the midfielder had to inform the England gaffer that he had just picked up a season ending injury.

Eze was in such good form he would have likely been in the provisional squad for the Euros, where England went all the way, losing only to Italy in the final on penalties.

Crystal Palace’s English defender Gary Cahill (R) gives Crystal Palace’s English midfielder Eberechi Eze a hand up during the English Premier (Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking to LondonWorld in his first major interview since returning, he admitted it was a frustrating time but he was glad to be back.

“It just takes time,” he said.

“I’ve been ready to play for a while, obviously you have to wait for the manager, but we will get there eventually for sure.

“it’s difficult going through an injury like that and having to sort of get back to speed, but we are getting there and it’s just a matter of time now.

“I just need to keep going and playing my football as well as I can and getting back to the way I performed last season and see where that takes me.”

On Monday night, Eze started his first Premier League game of the season, but before that it was at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final that he started rediscovering himself again.

Palace lost to Chelsea, but the England U21 star reminded everyone why he was regarded as a generational talent when he first signed from Championship side QPR.

Eberechi Eze is tackled by Chelsea's English midfielder Mason Mount (L) during the English FA Cup (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Playing at Wembley has always been a goal for Eze, even since growing up in Greenwich playing football in the garden with his pal Bright Osayi-Samuel, who is now plying his trade in Turkey with giants Fenerbhace.

Both had Wembley dreams and so it was quite emotional for young Eze to make a giant step towards full fitness at the very place he always dreamt of playing.

He admits the result was disappointing, but the experience will be worth it in the long term.

“That was a difficult result obviously, we didn’t get the win but playing at this stage we have to be proud of ourselves,” he told LondonWorld.

The winger gets fans on their feet and he’s already got his own song from the Eagles faithful, something that puts a smile on the face of Eze when brought up.

Eze and Olise are very close friends, and the midfielder has been helping the former Reading man in his taste for clothes and cars.

LondonWorld understands that Olise is thinking of getting an upgrade on the Mercedes he currently drives, and Eze is urging him to get his brand of Audi.

Asked how their friendship began, the midfielder revealed it was one born out of spending time together working hard on the training field.

“He is a cool guy and I have obviously grown to like him from training with him and being with him everyday,” Eze said.

“We’ve got quite a bond now and as a player you know how good he is, so that connection there is obviously going to be strong.”

And England’s success continues to motivate Eze.

He added: “Seeing players like that doing well and they are young in this team and pushing on, that is the aim and they are getting their rewards for it.

“It shows what is possible at this level for sure.”