QPR manager Mark Warburton has lauded young R’s talent Eberechi Eze as “a top-six Premier League player” and praised the marked improvement in his consistency from this season compared to last.
The 57-year-old was speaking to Sky Sports on Monday when he was asked about the young midfielder, saying: “There’s been a lot of media focus, quite rightly, for his performances – he’s dealt with that really well. Last year he had a really hot streak and then tailed off quite significantly. That played on his mind; he knew about that. Again, he’s responded this year and he’s maintained a level of consistency home and away.
“I honestly believe that he’s a top-six Premier League player, all day long. I’ve watched how he is before games – he just can’t wait to go and play. He’s relaxed, he’s looking forward to it. You watch players who are a bag of nerves before games but not Ebs. He looks forward to it, responds well to a mistake, he responds well to criticism for a young guy. He gets it.”
There has indeed been a substantial increase in Eze’s productivity in the final third over the last couple of years. He managed just four goals and four assists in 3,191 league minutes in 2018/19, with one of each every 797.75 minutes. This term, he has 12 goals and eight assists to his name in 3,273 minutes in the Championship, scoring once every 272.75 minutes and supplying an assist every 409.12 minutes.
Warburton also rightfully pointed out that the 21-year-old hasn’t hit a prolonged lull this season like he did last term, when he scored three times in his first eight league matches but only managed one more in the subsequent 34 games. This time around, his longest streak without a goal has lasted just six matches.
It isn’t just in terms of goals and assists that Eze has improved substantially, either. In 2018/19, he had match averages of 0.7 tackles, 1.6 shots, 0.9 key passes, 1.6 successful dribbles and 22.6 passes per game, with a 81.3% passing success rate. His match averages for this season are 1.2 tackles, 2.4 shots, 1.9 key passes, three successful dribbles and 36.3 passes per game, with an improved passing success rate of 86.4%. [via WhoScored]
His impressive displays during 2019/20 have indeed caught Premier League attention, although not quite at top six level just yet – Football Insider reported that relegation-threatened West Ham are targeting the attacking midfielder.
Warburton is right to praise the multi-faceted improvements to Eze’s game over the last few months and it is that greater consistency which has attracted glances of admiration from West Ham.
Will Eberechi Eze still be at QPR next season?
With QPR 13th in the Championship and facing an uphill battle just to get into the play-offs, a sizeable offer from a top-flight club might give the youngster a huge decision to make, so the R’s ought to enjoy what Eze brings for now.
QPR fans, has Eze been the team’s best player this season? Comment below with your views!
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