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Cole Palmer stakes his claim as sluggish England warm up for Euro 2024 with victory

Cole Palmer celebrates/Cole Palmer stakes his claim as sluggish England warm up for Euro 2024 with victory – latest reaction

Now we have that Cole Palmer signature celebration on the international stage and, with it, he has surely guaranteed his place in Gareth Southgate’s final 26-man squad for the European Championships. If there was any doubt.

There was certainly never any concern when Palmer stepped up to take the penalty that finally opened the scoring against a determined and organised Bosnia and Herzegovina side and that value should never be under-estimated – especially in tense tournament football. As England know to their painful cost.

To show what an extraordinary season Chelsea’s main man has the goal, his first for England in only his third appearance and his first start, also meant that the 22-year-old has scored in the European Super Cup, the Community Shield, the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup and now in international football. All since last August.

Palmer will surely have the chance to score for his country in a major finals and he was certainly one of the positives from this warm-up game where England overturned Sven-Goran Eriksson’s stock comment of “first-half good, second-half not so good”.

Cole Palmer opens the scoring from the spot
Cole Palmer opens the scoring from the spot - Getty Images/Mark Leech

This time, probably stung by Southgate’s demands to quicken the pace, they were far better after the break and even better still after making five pre-planned changes on the hour when they racked up chance after chance. By the final whistle, it was 25 attempts on goal to just two from the Bosnians.

It was also ultimately a good night for Trent Alexander-Arnold, after a disappointing first period, and he was rewarded with a spectacular low-swerving volley across goal and into the far corner. He had started in central midfield but the game passed him by until he began to play the incisive passes he is capable of. He finished at right-back.

Alexander-Arnold’s goal came from a Jack Grealish cross and it looked like the penny has dropped for the under-pressure Manchester City winger. He played like a man possessed when he came on – having watched Eberechi Eze pull off some eye-catching dribbles and impress Southgate – and he has suddenly pushed himself back into the reckoning. Both did more than James Maddison.

There was also a delightful cameo from Crystal Palace midfielder Adam Wharton. He may still only have a handful of Premier League appearances but the 20-year-old looked so at ease in this environment. We will see him again, many times, in an England shirt although probably not at the Euros. But it is not inconceivable and it is rare for Southgate to be so effusive in his praise as he was afterwards.

The scoring was rounded off by Harry Kane who, typically, capitalised on a goalmouth scramble to force the ball home. He looked sharp – with a header over and a stinging shot on the turn – and there was thankfully no sign of the back problems that hampered the finish to his season with Bayern Munich.

Palmer and Kane
Useful understudy and the star man: Palmer and Kane - Getty

It is 63 goals in 90 England appearances for Kane with Southgate revealing, with a smile, that he had tried to get on once the penalty was awarded for a shirt pull on Ezri Konsa, who showed his adaptability by playing across the defensive line, and after a VAR check. But Palmer was always going to take it.

It was interesting that Southgate turned to his captain, though, arguing he needed the minutes. It had been a struggle for Ollie Watkins, who had a couple of chances and failed to take them, while his involvement – in truth – was minimal. But then Ivan Toney, the other centre-forward in the provisional 33-man squad did not even feature.

Maybe Toney has been promised gametime against Iceland in England’s final warm-up match this Friday, before the squad is reduced, but Southgate has already indicated that Kane will start that fixture.

For Toney, the nature of Palmer’s goal might also make it more fretful for him. One of the Brentford striker’s main strengths is scoring penalties but Palmer, too, has ice in his veins from the spot and could now be regarded as Kane’s natural under-study. It weakens Toney’s case even further, it would seem.

Of course, there were auditions all over. This was the 4-2-3-1 formation that Southgate wants to deploy in the opening group game against Serbia a week on Sunday but obviously not, from the start, the personnel. Jordan Pickford will play as will Kieran Trippier – because Luke Shaw is struggling for fitness at left-back – while Marc Guehi has been told to prepare himself in Harry Maguire’s expected absence.

Except the Palace defender cast some doubt here. His passing was off, he was booked for a clumsy challenge and presented Bosnia with a clear opportunity just before half-time that would have been punished by better opponents. Southgate will not have liked that and would have hoped for more.

Cole Palmer stakes his claim as sluggish England warm up for Euro 2024 with victory
England's Marc Guehi is shown a yellow card by referee Rohit Saggi - Reuters/Lee Smith

Interestingly Palmer was used as the number 10, rather than in one of the wider attacking role and he picked a smart pass to release Watkins but it was not until those 15 minutes after half-time, and before he was taken off, that he truly imposed himself.

“Get the ball into Cole, in particular, a bit earlier,” Southgate later revealed was his message and it worked. England upped the tempo. In central midfield both Conor Gallagher – whose influence grew and whose aggression was mentioned by the manager – and Alexander-Arnold had been far too passive but there was more positivity as they pushed on, especially when the latter was on the ball and finding his range.

In fairness, this was ideal preparation for England. Bosnia fielded a back five and Southgate expects the same from Serbia and so it was a lesson on how to break it down. A lesson that was learnt. Especially when England turned to that formidable strength on the bench after Palmer again showed that stone-cold confidence that marks him out.


England 3 Bosnia-Herzegovina 0: as it happened, below


09:57 PM BST

Luke Edwards’s verdict


09:56 PM BST

Gareth Southgate speaks to C4

“We had to be patient and wait for the chances. Once we broke them down chances started to come and I think the scoreline reflects that. Eze has lovely movement, the power to go past people. Palmer maybe too precise a couple of times, could have got a shot away (earlier).”


09:40 PM BST

Full time: England 3 Bosnia 0

A reverse Sven: first half not so good, second half quite good. Three goals against a limited opponent. The questions that will be put to Gareth are all “what has he learned?” and “who has made his case to get in the squad?” To be honest, not sure we learned a massive amount. Gallagher was decent, Eze had a few moments, Palmer a very few. Marc Guehi the only one who actively harmed his case.

My two cents (Tyers) is that England’s bench is not that deep and guys who look very handy at the likes of Villa, Newcastle, Chelsea and Palace when surrounded by quality foreigners are probably a bit short of true international standard when surrounded by, well, each other. Whether England pick, for example, Ollie Watkins or Anthony Gordon seems unlikely to make a difference. If England can get/keep their genuinely excellent seven or eight first-choice players on the pitch then they could win the tournament but there’s a sharp drop-off to the supporting cast. That’s generally true with most teams, you don’t get many Brazil 1970s with class from 1-11, but it seems starker than most with Gareth’s lads. But ultimately whether England win the Euros or not will be decided by the fitness and contributions of Saka, Walker, Kane, Stones, Bellingham, and Rice rather than the lads making up the numbers.


09:36 PM BST

‘Conor Gallagher has added some steel’

He has not been flashy in any way but my unsung hero of the evening award goes to Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher.

He has done the ugly side of the game as well as anyone and has added some steel to England’s midfield which his willingness to fly into challenges. He uses the ball well, rarely loses it and always shows for it too. I like that in a player and he is probably someone you only really appreciate when you watch him live.

He’s not going to dislodge Declan Rice from the starting XI, but as he has been for Chelsea all season, Gallagher has been a key cog in this performance even if the headlines will be directed elsewhere. He’s going to be an excellent signing for someone this summer presuming Chelsea don’t change their mind and extend a contract that only has one year left on it.


09:34 PM BST

GOAL! England 3 Bosnia 0 (Kane 88)

No such thing as a meaningless international goal for the ruthless, relentless, splendid Mr Harry KAne. A goalmouth scramble ends with him pouncing from close range and that’s the third.


09:32 PM BST

86 mins: England 2 Bosnia 0

Not quite a performance to strike terror into the heart of the continent’s elite, but England still have a few minutes left to buff the scoreline. That’s at least in part because the Bosnians look like they’d happily call it a night and get off down the Bigg Market for a few refreshments.


09:30 PM BST

GOAL! England 2 Bosnia 0 (Trent Alexander-Arnold 86)

England have been well on top, camped in the B-H final third and they’ve eventually got another goal. A looping long ball from the left, neatly controlled by Trent A-A who is, you have to say, negligently unmarked. He watches the ball dip and hits a volley. It creeps in at the far post.


09:28 PM BST

80 mins: England 1 Bosnia 0

England’s momentum was slowed by all the changes but they are now playing quite well.


09:25 PM BST

75 mins: England 1 Bosnia 0

Branthwaite might not have got his first goal for England, but he has got his first booking. Gigovic his vic.

A minute or two before that, Kane let one fly and it swerved nastily in the air for the Bosnian keeper.


09:14 PM BST

‘England brighter in the second half’

England had been much sharper and brighter at the start of the second half and got their reward with a Cole Palmer penalty. They have been moving the ball with more speed and ambition and it is starting to stretch the Bosnian defence.

Palmer will have been annoyed with himself earlier, failing to take two chances, the sort of which we have got used to seeing him bury for Chelsea this season, but he has converted from the spot for his first senior England goal. It was his first start too (he’s just been replaced by James Maddison). What a season the young man from Manchester is having.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a real positive in this half too. He’s starting to pull the strings in the midfield and keeps popping up in dangerous positions on the right hand side of the box.

The crowd had got louder the better England played and you hope Southgate’s side can reward them for their backing with a few more goals now.


09:13 PM BST

68 mins: England 1 Bosnia 0

Kane has a dibble, it’s deflected, England win a corner.


09:13 PM BST

66 mins: England 1 Bosnia 0

Branthwaite close to a dream debut when he gets up at a near post corner.


09:11 PM BST

64 mins: England 1 Bosnia 0

Raft of changes as Branthwaite, Grealish, Maddison and Wharton come on and Trippier, Guéhi, Watkins and Eze off.

For Bosnia and Herzegovina, Huseinbasic replaces Šarić.


09:10 PM BST

62 mins: England 1 Bosnia 0

That’s going to be Palmer’s last act of the match, he is being replaced by Harry Kane.


09:05 PM BST

GOAL! England 1 Bosnia 0 (Palmer 60 pen)

Cole Palmer steps up confidently and drills the ball into the corner.


09:01 PM BST

57 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

VAR checking for a penalty with England attacking. Ref has gone to the monitors. England’s Konsa is having his shirt pulled by Bosnia’s Benjamin Tahirovic at a corner. Konsa goes down, probably made a meal of it but why wouldn’t he?  Penalty is awarded


09:00 PM BST

53 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Palmer runs at the defence, tries to shimmy through but cannot find a gap to shoot at with authority


08:53 PM BST

49 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Watkins putting it about a bit and nearly bundles in between keeper Vasilj and defender Katic. Those two end up taking each other out. Oof.

Trent had played that forward with a lovely long pass


08:49 PM BST

46 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

England have an early corner. Watkins puts a decent chance over.


08:48 PM BST

Ready for another 45?

Hopefully England can give these loyal fans something to cheer about.


08:36 PM BST

Largely pedestrian

As you would expect from an international friendly less than two weeks before the start of a major tournament this has been a largely pedestrian match so far.

Bosnia are cautious of leaving themselves exposed at the back and  are defending in numbers. England are cautious of picking up injuries by over straining themselves.

Crystal Palace’s Eze has shown some nice flashes and has probably been England’s best player to watch. Captain Trippier has looked comfortable at left back, albeit against limited opposition and Alexander-Arnold has been neat and tidy in midfield.

Others have been disappointingly quiet, including West Ham’s Jarrod Bown and Chelsea’s Cole Palmer.

There have also been a few loose moments at the back from Guehi who was fortunate not to gift Bosnia a goal late in tbe first half with a wayward pass across the edge of the England box.


08:35 PM BST

Half time: England 0 Bosnia 0

The half comes to a close, with commentator Steve Bower saying “stick around at half time for the thoughts of Jill Scott...” This viewer at least is already closing in on the kettle.

An entirely forgettable half of football. Eze has maybe advanced his cause for a cameo role as an impact sub with his power and running, although surely England knew that already. One or two nice moments from Cole Palmer.

Marc Guehi has had a poor half and nearly gave a goal away.


08:29 PM BST

40 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Guehi gives the ball away, brainlessly. A lazy pass across the back four, straight to Haris Hajradinovic. Luckily for Guehi, the Bosnian number 20 cannot hit the target.

A better side than B-H would have take one or both of these gifts (Pickford early doors).


08:27 PM BST

35 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Not a lot happening. The crowd having a sing-song.


08:26 PM BST

30 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Guéhi clatters Gigovic and is booked for the offence.


08:16 PM BST

Eze in action

England's Eberechi Eze, right, tries to drive the ball past Bosnia and Herzegovina's Armin Gigovic
England's Eberechi Eze, right, tries to drive the ball past Bosnia and Herzegovina's Armin Gigovic - AP

08:14 PM BST

27 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Eze shows excellent strength and dribbling to surge towards the area. Stopped by a hard fair tackle, but the ball breaks to Konsa, who hits the target. A Bosnian defender gets in the way and England have a corner. Nikola Katic is getting some attaboys from his colleagues for his intervention.


08:11 PM BST

Palmer

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Nikola Katic in action with England's Cole Palmer
Bosnia and Herzegovina's Nikola Katic in action with England's Cole Palmer - Reuters

This has been a low-energy affair so far that has not held the attention, but the best of England’s limited work has come from Cole Palmer.


08:07 PM BST

20 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

England have had a dominant, although not crushingly so, 70% of the ball.


08:02 PM BST

Should Watkins have hit the deck?

Should Ollie Watkins have gone down there and looked for the penalty rather than shoot from a tight angle where the goalkeeper was always likely to make the save?

It is one of those timeless debates about staying on your feet if you can and shooting at goal, but I’ve reached an age where I’ve become far more cynical in my attitudes. If this was early on in a tense, knockout game at the European Championships I think Watkins would be better going down there, almost certainly getting a penalty to give England a wonderful chance to take the lead.

Of course, if Harry Kane is available he wouldn’t be starting early on in a knockout game but you take my point I’m sure


08:01 PM BST

13 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Gazibegović has had a whack to the face, he thinks that Bowen elbowed him. Happen he did but I don’t think it was deliberate. He’s ok to carry on and the West Ham favourite escapes sanction.


07:57 PM BST

10 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Palmer slips the ball through to Oli Watkins, who has a good physical battle with a defender but cannot get a meaningful shot away.


07:52 PM BST

6 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Conor Gallagher wins freekick with run forward.


07:51 PM BST

National anthem singing police

I don’t want to be that guy from the national anthem singing police but from where I was standing, Cole Palmer, Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi did not appear to be joining in vocally.

However, Jordan Pickford and captain Kieran Trippier sang it with gusto, particularly the former whose neck muscles were visibly taking the strain as he screamed out the words in front of a sold-out St James’ Park.

As a former Sunderland player, Pickford is normally booed, mocked and jeered on his visits to Newcastle United’s home stadium but the Gallowgate End has just finished a rousing rendition of England’s, England’s Number One. Nice touch.


07:50 PM BST

3 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

Charcoal? I’m not really sure what you’d call it. A sort of purple-hued midnight.


07:48 PM BST

2 mins: England 0 Bosnia 0

England building from the back in some comfort but give the ball away sloppily. Pickford miscues to Hajradinović. Didn’t he do that recently against someone? Oh yeah, Belgium. A better side than B-H might have punished Pickford there.


07:46 PM BST

1 mins: England 0 Bosnia-Herzegovnia 0

Bosnia-Herzegovnia, rather confusingly, are in white with a blue trim and England are playing in an all-charcoal get-up. It’s the visitors who kick off.


07:41 PM BST

Atmos

Looks a pleasant, mild evening in the North East and there’s a relaxed, end of termy feel to the fixture, or at least in so far as I can tell from the tellybox. Looks like there are lots of children in.


07:34 PM BST

Gareth Southgate

“All of these games are big for individual players, huge motivation. We are looking at how they embrace the principles we want to play with.

“Excited to see Trent back. Against high level opponents it’s about what he does without the ball as well.

“Palmer, I just want him to see him enjoy his football. I don’t think he is somebody who fills his head up with too much.

“Grealish? We know more about him than we do Eze.”


07:33 PM BST

The teams

England: Pickford, Konsa, Dunk, Guehi, Trippier, Gallagher, Alexander-Arnold, Bowen, Palmer, Eze, Watkins. Subs: Ramsdale, Gomez, Branthwaite, Quansah, Rice, Toney, Grealish, Maddison, Kane, Jones, Wharton, Henderson, Trafford.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Vasilj, Ahmedhodzic, Katic, Radeljic, Bicakcic, Hajradinovic, Saric, Tahirovic, Gazibegovic, Gigovic, Demirovic. Subs: Hadzikic, Hadzikadunic, Huseinbasic, Tabakovic, Dzeko, Mujakic, Burnic, Sosic, Muharemovic, Piric.

Referee: Rohit Saggi (Norway)


07:29 PM BST

A rare chance to roll the dice

Well this is the time to experiment and Gareth Southgate has certainly done that with his team sheet for England’s penultimate game before he will be expected to win the European Championships.

That last part is a little tongue in cheek, perhaps, but if we expect Southgate to revert to his tried and tested line up and style of play when the competitive action begins in less than two week’s time, he is rolling the dice against the minnows of Bosnia.

Part of that is down to the fact there are a lot of senior players missing but there are plenty of players auditioning for bigger parts at the Euros in their absence.

The sight of Cole Palmer in the starting XI will excite a few people, as will the fact Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze is alongside him.

As will the prospect of watching Trent Alexander Arnold in midfield. If he isn’t playing as a right wing back of course. Gareth is such a tease.

At the back Marc Guehi, Ezri Konsa and Lewis Dunk will want to show they can play instead of Southgate’s old favourites John Stones and injury doubt Harry Maguire in Germany. It’s a big night for all three in that respect, but especially Dunk who had a bit of a shocker in the last round international fixtures.

Right back Kieran Trippier is presumably playing on the left. That trickster Southgate is at it again. Mainly as he didn’t bother to pick any fit left backs in his squad.

Personally, I’m fascinated to see how Ollie Watkins does up front. He’s had an excellent season for Aston Villa but was arguably outshone by Ivan Toney back in the spring. Watkins needs to deliver at this level and Bosnia should be accommodating opposition.


07:19 PM BST

Gareth having a little chat

pre-recorded. Talking about man management, bringing people together. “Culture never stays still.”

He adds: “I am a proud Englishman. For me to be happy, we have to win. It would be a special memory.”


07:04 PM BST

Asmir Begović

is on pundit detail alongside Joe Cole and the ubiquitous Jill Scott-Heron. Not sure I have seen Begović on TV before: he had a good career, notched a century of appearances for Stoke and Bournemouth. There’s certainly plenty of him, he’s filling up about half the screen on C4 and looks like he could make a light meal of any one of his broadcast colleagues should he so wish to, the big Bosnian gloveman.


07:01 PM BST

The match is on C4

I like it’s pre-school graphical style for the intros. Nice little feature to get us up and running, with clips of the late Wor Sir Uncle Bobby Robson talking about England. Splicing clips of players past and present, Lineker and Kane etc.


06:55 PM BST

Stars of tomorrow

Kieran Trippier of England greets some young fans
Kieran Trippier of England greets some young fans - Getty Images Europe

06:47 PM BST

England squad

The deadline for Gareth Southgate to submit his final 26-man Euro 2024 squad to Uefa is Friday. Seven players will miss out from the provisional 33-man squad he named on 21 May. The squad will then be announced to the public on Saturday.


06:44 PM BST

Jamie Carragher marks your card


06:35 PM BST

England team named


06:30 PM BST

Team by team guide

Our experts run the rule over the Euro hopefuls, and mark your card for the players who might be the breakout stars.

Euro 2024 team-by-team guide, including players to watch


06:21 PM BST

Euro fixtures

Here is what we are all building towards.

Who England and Scotland face, when and where


05:35 PM BST

Who do you think will win?

Play with our mini match predictor... and let us know your thoughts about the match in the comments section at the bottom of this page.


05:31 PM BST

England face Bosnia-Herzegovnia in friendly

Good evening and welcome to our coverage of England’s friendly match against Bosnia, which comes to us from St. James’ Park. It’s the penultimate match England have before the Euros (they face Iceland at Wembley on Friday) so limited opportunities for Gareth Southgate and his coaches to fine-tune what they plan to do against Serbia on Sunday 16th. It looks like being a good chance for some of the fringe players to force themselves into the forefront of the manager’s thinking: partly because some are resting/recovering but a reasonable policy in and of itself.

Five guys who have strong chances of starting against Serbia won’t feature tonight: Manchester United’s Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have injuries, John Stones joined the squad late, Jude Bellingham is due to join up with the Three Lions squad on 8 June after the small matter of winning the European Cup, and Bukayo Saka is sensibly being rested. Local hero Anthony Gordon is probably the injured man who would have profited from the chance to strut his stuff but there it is.

Southgate, diplomatic and sensible as ever, says that the door is still open for lots of names.

Jack Grealish has not played as much as he would have liked this season he is still in the running to make the cut.

Marcus Rashford was left out of the provisional 33-man squad for Germany and there has been talk that Grealish could be the next big name axed with Southgate set to cut the squad to 26 players by June 7.

Grealish made just 20 Premier League appearances for Manchester City this season, scoring three goals, and was an unused substitute in their FA Cup final defeat by Manchester United last month.

Asked if Grealish was in danger of missing out, Southgate said: “I don’t think we’re defining that just yet. I think we know where we’re likely to be.

“I haven’t talked to him specifically about the Cup final. But he has been really bright and he loves being here.

“This season he has not played as much. I’m sure he would have liked that to be different but we know the qualities he can bring. He is a player we enjoy working with.”

Southgate added there was time for people to impress in friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland.

The likes of James Maddison, Eberechi Eze, Cole Palmer and Jarrod Bowen are all pushing for berths in the squad and Southgate said he had not settled on how many attacking players he would need.

“What we don’t totally know is how many we need to take or how many we can allow ourselves to take because of the cover we might need in other positions as well,” he added.

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