Cole Palmer is set to be part of England’s Euro 2024 squad but where does he fit in the starting XI? | Football News

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Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett analyses how Gareth Southgate could fit Cole Palmer into his starting XI at Euro 2024; Palmer has scored 25 goals and produced 13 assists in all competitions this season for Chelsea; the 21-year-old didn’t play in England’s most recent friendlies

By Rob Dorsett, Senior Reporter, Sky Sports News @RobDorsettSky


Cole Palmer can expect to be included in England’s squad for Euro 2024 if he’s fit, but how can Gareth Southgate get him in the starting XI?

The Chelsea forward joined Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with four goals against Everton on Monday night, which has increased the clamour for Southgate to find a key role for him in Germany this summer.

However, whether Palmer will make England’s starting XI remains to be seen.

Cole Palmer completes a perfect hat-trick in the first-half against Everton, making it his second consecutive hat-trick at Stamford Bridge

There is no doubt that Southgate is a big admirer of the 21-year-old. Having called him up to the senior squad for the first time in November, he gave him his England debut against Malta and used him as a substitute days later against North Macedonia.

Palmer, though, has yet to start a full international and, despite a host of injury problems elsewhere, he played no minutes in last month’s two friendlies at Wembley.

Southgate revealed that a minor injury had prevented Palmer from training, which meant he wasn’t able to feature against Brazil and that he would have only been able to play for a short period against Belgium.

Sky Sports News has since discovered that the England manager and Palmer had a conversation about whether it would be best for him to return to Chelsea for treatment but both agreed it was a good idea for the winger to stay with the squad, to help build rapport and familiarity with future England opportunities in mind.

The fact that Palmer wanted to stay with the England squad, even though he wasn’t fully fit, impressed Southgate.

Nevertheless, Palmer’s path to the England first team is anything but straightforward. Without a doubt, he is playing in the most competitive area of the squad and Southgate would have to either drop another in-form star to make space for him, move one or more out of position, or change formation.

So how does Southgate fit Palmer into his starting XI?

Option 1: Drop Bellingham deeper



Image:
Cole Palmer at No 10 for England

In this team, Jude Bellingham reverts to a No 8, playing in a deeper-lying midfield role with Declan Rice continuing in his defensive midfield position. This would allow Palmer to play as a No 10 for England.

This side would feature Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Palmer in a very attacking and positive XI.

However, it would mean Bellingham’s impact going forward is nullified having scored 22 goals and contributed 11 assists for club and country so far this season in a No 10 role.

Palmer would also be playing out of position, playing centrally rather than his preferred option wide right.

Option 2: Foden at No 10, Palmer on the left



Image:
Cole Palmer on the left for England with Phil Foden at No 10

This XI would see Phil Foden playing as the No 10, giving space for Palmer at left wing.

Foden has thrived at Man City in this position and it allows Palmer to get his wide attacking berth, with him and Saka able to swap wings during the game to vary England’s attack.

But it means Bellingham’s attacking threat is weakened once again and one of Palmer and Saka have to play in their less-favoured option of left wing.

Option 3: Drop Saka!



Image:
England’s midfield and attack without Bukayo Saka

This team won’t be popular with Arsenal fans! Southgate drops Saka so that Palmer can play in his preferred position on the right.

Palmer has managed 25 goals and 13 assists in all competitions and will be given free rein to repeat his superb form for Chelsea.

It also means Bellingham can continue to flourish in his No 10 role where he has proved himself one of the best players in world football this season, plus there is space for Conor Gallagher or Kobbie Mainoo as the third central midfielder.

But Bukayo Saka isn’t on the pitch! He has scored 18 times and produced 13 assists for Arsenal this season.

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