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Amaju Pinnick Wants Ebere Eze To ‘Improve’ Super Eagles

Felix Egbomuche

Felix Egbomuche

The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, believes Ebere Eze will improve the Super Eagles squad if he decides to play for Nigeria.

The Queens Park Rangers player, who was born to Nigerian parents but currently represents England at the U-21 level, has been one of the stars of the Championship this season.

His form has seen him being compared to the legendary Nigerian midfielder, Jay-Jay Okocha, and the NFF is hoping to convince him to play for Nigeria rather than England at senior level.

The 2022 World Cup qualifiers begin next year but the Pinnick-led NFF is already planning for the tournament in Qatar and hopes the 21-year-old who played twice for the Young Lions in November will switch allegiance to boost Nigeria's midfield.

"We need to make a solid representation at Qatar 2022 and it starts with improving on your squad with quality players like Eze," Pinnick told BBC's Shina Okeleji.

"Can you imagine a midfield with Ndidi, Aribo, Etebo and Eze? It is one that will improve our squad."

Two weeks ago, the NFF boss held meetings with Ebere and his parents. A photo of them after the meeting which the president said went well was shared on the Nigerian football governing body's official page.

Amaju Pinnick Wants Ebere Eze To ‘Improve’ Super Eagles

The public pursuit of the youngster, however, drew some criticism from fans and local media. This was after a similar approach with Tammy Abraham ended in failure, as the Chelsea striker chose to play for England instead. But Pinnick believes it was the right move.

"I had a positive meeting with Ebere Eze in London and I spoke to his parents as well, " Pinnick who turned 49 this week added.

"He requested for the chance to continue to focus on his club career which is going well so far, and that further progress will be made in due course

"But I am confidently hopeful that he will play for Nigeria soon. I have no regrets talking to Eze, who visited me at home with his girlfriend."

Eze could have made his debut for the West Africans in March 2017 when he was invited to train with the Super Eagles ahead of a friendly against Burkina Faso in London.

The friendly which some British-born players, including Ola Aina, Chuka Akpom, and Alex Iwobi, were invited to was eventually cancelled.

He was overlooked by the coach, Gernot Rohr, after the London gathering and has since gone on to play for the English youth team.