Super Eagles-eligible duo named in England’s provisional Euro 2024 squad

England manager Gareth Southgate named a 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2024 on Tuesday.

The list featured the Super Eagles-eligible duo of Liverpool's Curtis Jones and Crystal Palace's Eberechi Eze. 25-year-old Eze was superb for the Eagles in the just-concluded English Premier League season, scoring 11 goals in 27 games and providing four assists.

Jones, 23, also featured 23 times for Liverpool, recording one goal and one assist for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Both Eze and Jones have connections to Nigeria, and if they make Southgate's final squad, Nigeria could miss out on these two exceptional talents.

Eze has already been capped once by the Three Lions in a Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta in June last year.

He is three caps away from being permanently ineligible to play for Nigeria, which is likely if he features at the Euros.

Jones, on the other hand, has yet to represent England at the senior level but has played at the youth level, featuring for the U-16, U-17, U-18, U-19, and U-21 sides.

How are Eze and Jones connected to Nigeria?

Curtis Jones was born on 30 January 2001 in Liverpool, Merseyside, and grew up in the Toxteth area of the city.

His Nigerian roots trace back to his grandmother, providing him with a strong cultural link to the West African nation.

Eze, on the other hand, was born in Greenwich, Greater London, to Igbo Nigerian parents, and has a direct and profound connection to the country.

These connections to Nigeria have sparked discussions about their international football futures.

Eze, having already made an appearance for the England senior team, is three caps away from being permanently ineligible to represent Nigeria at the international level, should he continue to feature for England.

Eberechi Eze @ Icon Sport
Photo by Icon Sport

On the other hand, Jones has represented England at various youth levels, from U-16 to U-21, but has yet to make his senior debut.

Both players' ties to Nigeria represent a significant aspect of their identities and potential international careers.

As they progress in their football journeys, their heritage adds an intriguing dimension to their stories and future decisions regarding international representation.

The question of whether Eze and Jones will choose to represent Nigeria or continue with England remains an ongoing topic of interest for football fans and analysts alike.

Eze and Jones: A potential boost or distraction for the Super Eagles?

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has a history of actively pursuing talented players of Nigerian descent, hoping to bolster the Super Eagles with their skills and international experience.

This strategy has previously seen efforts to recruit Eberechi Eze, with former NFF president Amaju Pinnick meeting Eze in 2019 to persuade him to switch his allegiance to Nigeria.

Although Eze expressed uncertainty about his international future, Pinnick remained optimistic, stating, “It appears to me that he would want to play for Nigeria, but again, there is a lot of pressure on these players who play in England.”

Adding to this, Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr revealed in January 2021 that he maintained regular contact with Eze, reaching out to him weekly.

As the Super Eagles continue to develop a formidable squad, the question arises: should Nigeria still pursue players like Eberechi Eze and Curtis Jones, given the abundance of talent already within the team?

Eze's and Jones' inclusion could undoubtedly strengthen Nigeria's midfield and attacking options, providing depth and versatility.

Eze, who has already carved a niche for himself in the English top-flight would be a valuable asset.

Curtis Jones @ Icon Sport
Photo by Icon Sport

Similarly, Jones, with his experience at Liverpool and England's youth levels, brings a blend of technical skill and composure that could benefit the Super Eagles.

However, Nigeria's current talent pool is impressive. The Super Eagles boast an array of talented midfielders and attackers, including the likes of Victor Osimhen, Victor Boniface, Ademola Lookman, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Joe Aribo, Samuel Chukwueze just to mention but a few.

The emergence of young stars such as Raphael Onyedika and Calvin Bassey further highlights the depth and quality available to the national team.

Victor Osimhen, Finidi George
Photo by NFF

Pursuing Eze and Jones should not overshadow the development and opportunities for these homegrown talents.

Balancing the integration of new players while nurturing existing ones is crucial for maintaining team cohesion and morale.

Moreover, the commitment and passion of players who have come through the Nigerian system can sometimes surpass that of those who face divided allegiances.

While securing the services of Eze and Jones would be beneficial, the NFF must carefully consider the long-term vision for the Super Eagles.

Ensuring that the team remains a blend of local and international talents driven by a shared commitment to Nigeria's success is key.

If Eze and Jones express a genuine desire to represent Nigeria and commit wholeheartedly to the national team, their inclusion could be a significant boost.

However, the focus should remain on building a cohesive unit that embodies the spirit and resilience of Nigerian football.

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu, a Ghanaian sports journalist, brings a dynamic perspective to the field with over a decade of experience. Having contributed to esteemed platforms such as Kickgh.com and Inkandkicks.com. Godfred is recognised for his insightful commentary and in-depth analysis of African football.
His passion for storytelling and commitment to accuracy have established him as a trusted authority in sports journalism in Ghana, captivating audiences with his engaging narratives and unparalleled expertise.
Godfred holds a degree in Integrated Development Studies (Social and Development Administration option) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.