Cole Palmer proves Gareth Southgate wrong as England boss 'knocks' Chelsea star's confidence

Chelsea and England star Cole Palmer
-Credit: (Image: Ryan Pierse/UEFA)

England played out their final group match at Euro 2024 on Tuesday evening, being held to a goalless draw with Slovenia.

The Three Lions have progressed as winners of Group C but did so with two dour draws and one narrow victory. Another uninspiring display from England has left even more questions over manager Gareth Southgate, who made just one change to his side that drew with Denmark last week.

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher came into the side for Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold. Gallagher sat alongside Declan Rice in a double pivot for England but lasted just 45 minutes, with Manchester United star Kobbie Mainoo replacing the Blues midfielder at half-time.

Former England midfielder Jack Wilshere believes the decision from Southgate was not one we have come to associate with the Three Lions boss. Also, the ex-Arsenal midfielder thinks that it will have a negative impact on Gallagher's confidence for the rest of the tournament.

Speaking to The Sun, Wilshere said: "Kobbie Mainoo was always my preference to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold in England's midfield. I think he showed why in the second-half tonight.

"But I still feel that it was harsh on Conor Gallagher that he was taken off at half-time. Firstly because it was probably our best half of the tournament. And secondly, because it didn't feel like a Gareth Southgate thing to do.

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"It will knock Gallagher's confidence for sure. He will have thought that this was his chance, but he only gets a half.

"Having said that, despite the disappointing result, the second-half was better and Mainoo proved he is the man - or boy - to play there in the future. He is only 19 but he understands the game so well and knows what it needs.

"He is better on the ball than Gallagher. He also allowed Declan Rice to get forward even more in the second-half than he had in the first."

Meanwhile, Cole Palmer entered the pitch on 71 minutes for Bukayo Saka as Southgate looked to win the game from the bench. It was Palmer's first minutes of the Euros to date despite the Chelsea superstar scoring 27 goals in all competitions throughout a sensational 2023/24 season.

The 22-year-old really shone in his 20-minute cameo. A 100 per cent pass accuracy, 22 touches, three dribbles, two crosses and one shot in target made him the Three Lions' brightest player in the final third - and, crucially, he looked like the side's most dangerous attacker despite being on the pitch for such little time.

"He did very good," Southgate said on Palmer to ITV after the game. "He finds space well and he makes chances and we were backing him to score at the end.

"They are young players and we are blooding them in a difficult environment. They had a good impact for us and did good things for us.

"Anthony Gordon, Cole Palmer, Kobbie Mainoo, it was a really good move. We have to build on that. There were a lot of things to build on from tonight."

Palmer will be hoping his positive display in Cologne will see him come into the starting line-up when England play their Round of 16 match on Sunday evening. However, it would likely mean Southgate would have to drop Saka in place of Palmer. But after Tuesday night's showing, there are many calling for that to happen.