Eberechi Eze was ‘naive’ in breaking Covid rules to attend QPR’s FA Cup clash against Fulham, admits Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson while insisting the winger will ‘learn a hard lesson’ of a lockdown breach
- Eberechi Eze came under fire for returning to old side QPR for game against Fulham
- The FA is investigating a lockdown breach in which Eze is not wearing a mask
- The Palace star also did not take social distance from other players in the stands
- His boss Roy Hodgson said he showed “naivety,” but insists he will learn from it
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes Eberechi showed Eze ‘naivety’ when he became the last footballer to violate coronavirus protocols last weekend, but the playmaker will be free against Arsenal on Thursday.
The 22-year-old attended former club QPR’s FA Cup game with Fulham on Saturday and did not always wear a mask on Loftus Road.
Eze had no social distance either, with just a seat between him and another person in the director’s box.
Eberechi Eze was ‘naive’ in watching QPR’s match against Fulham, his boss Roy Hodgson admits
The Crystal Palace winger did not wear a mask or social distance from others in the stands
A statement from Palace on Monday insisted that they would deal with the matter internally, with the incident occurring a week after Captain Luka Milivojevic was fined for mingling with Aleksandar Mitrovic and his family on New Year’s Eve.
“When he realized what he was doing – naively I must point out and without any malice at all – he was full of regrets, regrets and wanted to take responsibility and apologize to everyone,” Hodgson said.
‘Do I think the foolish thing Eberechi did deserves to be left out of the team and punished that way? Not me.
“I don’t think what he did would deserve such a punishment, but it does deserve a fine, because a slap on the wrist isn’t really enough.”
Palace was unaware of the planned summer contracts to return to his old stomping grounds and QPR boss Mark Warburton admitted that his club had made a mistake in accepting Eze’s request to attend.
Hodgson said he showed ‘naivety’ but insisted he learn a ‘hard lesson’ from it
Hodgson added, “It was very naive on his part to think it was okay to do those things. Obviously it is not and we are very upset and also a bit disappointed that it was not stopped and I know QPR has done well in that regard.
“They took responsibility because if we had known he was going to, we would have stopped.
“He’s apologized and will learn a hard lesson.”
Eze will enjoy the focus back on football this week and another player who signed in 2020 is about to strike a new deal with the club.
Nathaniel Clyne returned to Selhurst Park in October and is about to complete a longer contract, with his existing terms expiring at the end of January.
“I have to believe it’s very close to Nathaniel’s signing now, so I’m not worried about that,” Hodgson insisted.
Palace does have a number of other unsigned players this summer, including goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and defender Gary Cahill, but their long-term manager isn’t too concerned.
Eze has admitted he made a mistake and Palace said the matter will be handled internally
He said, “I know the Chairman (Steve Parish) and the Sporting Director Doug Freedman are aware of the situation and are working hard to find the right solutions when it comes to the out-of-contract players.”
Cahill returns for the trip to Arsenal, but center-back Mamadou Sakho faces a spell on the sidelines after sustaining a thigh injury in Friday’s FA Cup defeat at Wolves.
The Eagles have not lost to the Gunners in nearly three years, but will face a resurgent squad, with Mikel Arteta’s men triumphing in their last four games after having previously played a seven-game winless streak in the Premier League .
Hodgson admitted, “I never expected them to do anything but recover from the unfortunate start they had.
When you look at the squad, the way Mikel has worked with them, the way they play and their principles plus the quality of the club, I never expected sooner or later they would come back to the Arsenal we know. . and expect them to be. ‘