Roy Hodgson has urged in-form Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze to aim for an England debut.
Palace playmaker Eze underlined his international credentials with a superb second-half brace in Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win against bottom club Southampton.
The 24-year-old was reduced to a sideline late in Patrick Vieira’s reign but has now scored three goals in three successive victories since Hodgson’s return to Selhurst Park.
Although former England manager Hodgson has stopped texting current national team manager Gareth Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland, he is excited about Eze’s talent and potential.
When asked if the former QPR man is fit to represent his country at senior level, the 75-year-old replied: ‘Yes, why not?
“I’m not pushing for this. I never push in press conferences and say I think this player on the team I’m coaching is so good that he should play for England. National coaches don’t need it. They watch all our games.
“People who are watching Gareth Southgate at the moment will be making their assessments and don’t need any help or advice from me on this matter.
“But, if you talk about a player’s ambition, young as he is, a huge chance to keep improving and keep doing well with every Premier League game he plays, I think if I were him I’d say, ‘I’ I’m so good I’ll make it my ambition.’
“But the only way he’s going to do that is to produce more and more of these performances and hope that Steve Holland and Gareth Southgate look at him and come to the same conclusion that this is a player who can help us.”
Boundless attacking midfielder Eze was due to be named in Southgate’s preliminary squad for Euro 2020 before suffering an Achilles injury and was reportedly in the initial 55-man squad for last year’s World Cup in Qatar .
The former England Under-21 international gave the Eagles a 54th-minute lead at St Mary’s before quickly adding a strong second from distance.
Palace’s recent resurgence – successive wins over relegation-threatened sides Leicester, Leeds and Saints – has pushed the club to the brink of safety with 36 points with seven games remaining.
Hodgson has been impressed by the response from his players since being reappointed just under four weeks ago following Vieira’s sacking.
And he encouraged his team to kickstart and ensure survival emphatically.
“I’m here due to a really bad time in the club’s season which has prompted the owners to take some sort of action and we’ve been parachuted into doing a job, which is what we’re trying to do,” said Hodgson.
“But I have to say that this group of players is making our job very easy.
“They have to set themselves a goal now and think we don’t want to slide back and if we’re going to survive, we don’t want to because we’re holding on and hoping we can get a point in the end game.
“We will do it because we are producing the kind of football that we have been able to produce in these last three games.”