Ebere Eze’s performances for QPR have earned him an England Under-20 call-up.
Picked up by Rangers in 2016 after being shown the door by Millwall, the 20-year-old forward has come a long way in a relatively short piece of time.
While Eze’s face didn’t fit at Millwall, him joining QPR was perfect for both sides – and the timing ideal. Both parties needed each other.
Eze needed a second chance and Rangers were trying to re-establish themselves as a club able to scout well and polish rough diamonds.
Eze, with his obvious flair and at a crossroads in his career, was quickly seen by the club as a throwback QPR player and a flagship signing in terms of what Rangers were trying to do.
QPR boss Steve McClaren on Eze: “How anybody could let him go – there’ll be reasons for it, I don’t know. I’m just so glad that we’ve got him.”
The right loan move
Crucially, Eze had the benefit of exactly the right loan move. Rangers have been much better in this respect – not long ago it was fairly unusual for a QPR youngster to even complete a month on loan before being sent back.
The change probably started with the likes of Michael Doughty and Max Ehmer, with players like Darnell Furlong and keeper Joe Lumley since enjoying successful loan spells which have moved their progression along nicely.
After Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth took him on loan on the recommendation of former QPR team-mate Marc Bircham, Eze made the most of his chance to play first-team football.
His exciting performances for the Chairboys created such a buzz that his return to QPR in January was much anticipated.
A good start
Eze hitting the ground running after that return was another major factor in his development. In fact, even prior to his loan move to Wycombe and despite some criticism from his then manager Ian Holloway, Eze did not look out of place in the Rangers first team.
His lively start got fans on his side and enabled him to gain some momentum. It’s tough for young players when their start does not go well. Eze’s gave him the platform on which to build a reputation that is continuing to grow.