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Will the duo make the Euros squad?

Written by on June 4, 2024

Gareth Southgate’s England secured a routine 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday, but the performance left the manager with more questions than answers. The match, featuring a number of second-string players, highlighted some bright spots but also underlined lingering uncertainties ahead of Euro 2024.

In a game that lacked excitement, Cole Palmer and Eberechi Eze provided much-needed sparks. Palmer, making his first start for England, opened the scoring with a successful penalty at the hour mark. Eze, also a first-time starter, dazzled with his quicksilver feet and creative play.

Palmer’s penalty broke the deadlock in a game that had been frustratingly stagnant until that point. His confidence from the spot was a promising sign, but it was Eze who truly caught the eye. His dribbling prowess and ability to glide past defenders added a dynamic element to England’s attack, reminiscent of his impressive club form under Oliver Glasner.

Gareth Southgate will have to cut down the England squad to 26 players ahead of June 7 deadline.

Gareth Southgate singles out Cole Palmer and Eberechi Eze after England’s victory over Bosnia

Southgate acknowledged post-match (live on Channel 4) that Palmer could have increased his tally with better decision-making. However, the manager was full of praise for both Palmer and Eze, noting their inspired performances as highlights in an otherwise lackluster match.

“I thought they both played with freedom. Ebere has got lovely movement to go past players, he’s got power. A couple of times, Cole was being too precise and if he got his shots away earlier maybe he could’ve got a couple.”

The performances of Palmer and Eze pose significant selection dilemmas for Southgate.

Palmer completed 80% of his passes, and registered two key passes including a big chance created, to go with his debut goal. While, Eze completed 78% of his passes and tallied three successful take-ons from five attempted.

The Chelsea star bagged 22 goals in his debut Premier League campaign at Stamford Bridge, adding 11 assists to his name. Many fans are screaming at Southgate to select the maverick in his final squad.

Eze’s return to form, especially after a hamstring injury earlier in the season, has bolstered his chances of making the Euro 2024 squad. The 25-year-old scored 11 goals and provided four assists for Crystal Palace.

His inclusion against Bosnia is a worrying sign for James Maddison and Jack Grealish, both of whom ended their club seasons in poor form. Southgate may be forced to make tough decisions, potentially at the expense of at least one established star.

England flattered to deceive in 3-0 win

Despite the comfortable scoreline, England’s performance raised several concerns. Bosnia and Herzegovina, a team that failed to qualify for Euro 2024, posed little threat. Yet, the Three Lions struggled to assert their dominance until late in the match.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Kane added two more goals in the final five minutes, sealing the victory but failing to mask the overall uninspired display.

With the Euros on the horizon, Southgate’s experimental lineup provided some clarity but also new uncertainties. The emergence of Palmer and Eze is a positive development, injecting fresh talent and energy into the squad.

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