Patrick Vieira backs Eberechi Eze but warns Crystal Palace fans: ‘He’s not the new Conor Gallagher’

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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Patrick Vieira has backed Eberechi Eze to be a key man for Crystal Palace this season but warned: ‘He’s not the new Conor Gallagher’.

Eze sparkled in his first season at Selhurst Park after signing from QPR in the summer of 2020 but suffered an Achilles injury towards the end of that campaign which ruled him out for eight months.

The 24-year-old made a gradual return during the latter stages of last term but the hope is that with a full pre-season under his belt, his career can get back on track.

“Eze last year went through a really difficult period but he finished the season quite well and played the last couple of games,” Vieira said.

“Since the start of pre-season, he’s been training every single day, he’s been playing a lot of games. So, I believe that is getting to his best and Ebs will be an important player for us.

“We will still have to give him time to get to his best but we don’t have any doubt about how good he can be for us.”

Eze is expected to start the new season in an attacking midfield role, filling the gap left by Gallagher’s return to Chelsea following the end of his superb loan spell.

However, Vieira insists he does not view the former Rs man as a like-for-like replacement.

“The profile and the quality of those players are completely different,” Vieira said. “I think [Eze] would be shining even if Conor was here.

“I don’t expect Ebs to give us what Conor gave us last year. They play in a different way. They have different strengths and it will be important for those players to play with their quality, and I believe that we can be as good as we were last year.”

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