Good news as Cole Palmer hands Chelsea big boost, returns to England training ahead of Belgium

Good news as Cole Palmer hands Chelsea big boost, returns to England training ahead of Belgium

Chelsea have been given a big boost with Cole Palmer returning to training.

Palmer was absent from England’s 1-0 loss to Brazil at Wembley on Saturday night, but has now re-joined the squad for training ahead of Tuesday’s friendly match against Belgium. This will reassure Mauricio Pochettino, with Chelsea set to play Burnley on Saturday as Premier League action resumes after the international break.

Palmer missed the Brazil match due to a small injury, but he could now feature against Belgium and earn his third England cap. The former Manchester City man has been in sensational form for Chelsea this season, making 37 appearances. In that time Palmer has scored 16 goals and set up 12.

Jordan Henderson also appears to be in contention for England’s match against Belgium after returning to training, but Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire have withdrawn after starting against Brazil on Saturday. The pair and back-up goalkeeper Sam Johnstone are dealing with injuries, which has led to Rico Lewis and James Trafford being moved across from the Under-21s.

Skipper Harry Kane and Arsenal star Bukayo Saka had already withdrawn from an absentee-hit final camp before the Euros. Gareth Southgate has said he is looking forward to seeing new players in action for the Three Lions.

“Belgium have played a different 11 probably, or close to, so they’re going to be a bit fresher,” the England boss said after the Red Devils drew 0-0 away to the Republic of Ireland on Saturday. “But similar to (Brazil) we’re talking about a high-level game, brilliant experience for the players, a chance to see new players again, build towards the summer.

“I’m not disappointed with the level of performance. I know in the end when you lose the game then there will always be a negative reaction to losing. But my thought was, with 15 minutes to go given all the changes that we’d made, I thought the crowd was already with the team.

“They could see a lot of young players going in and doing well, a lot of very inexperienced players going in and doing well, so I’m not down on the performance of the team at all.”

Put to Southgate in a separate interview with BBC Radio 5 Live that it must hurt that England lost their unbeaten run ahead of the Euros, he said: “Well, it does because we had an unbeaten year. But we deliberately took two really high-level games and of course we’ve had to put out a very different team to the one we might have envisaged.

“So, we’ve still learned an awful lot ahead of the summer that’s really important. You know, some of these boys are pushing for starting positions, some are pushing for places in the squad. You need to see them against that sort of level of opposition to see if they’re going to be able to excel in the summer.”

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