Cole Palmer drop to  benched as Gary Neville predicts England’s Euro 2024  front-three

Cole Palmer drop to  benched as Gary Neville predicts England’s Euro 2024  front-three

Gary Neville has predicted England’s front-three for Euro 2024 – with Chelsea star and Premier League young player of the season Cole Palmer missing out.

Gareth Southgate is blessed with an embarrassment of attacking riches for the upcoming Euros, where England will attempt to win their first men’s major trophy since 1966.

The Three Lions are captained by one of the most prolific strikers in the world in Harry Kane, while they have some of the most exciting attackers around in Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Palmer.

Palmer left Premier League champions Manchester City to join Chelsea last summer and enjoyed a sensational first season at Stamford Bridge, scoring 24 goals and making 13 assists.

The 22-year-old will undoubtedly be included in England’s final 26-man squad for the Euros – which will be announced on Saturday – with the only real question whether or not he can force his way into the starting line-up.

Palmer did his chances no harm as he impressed in England’s penultimate warm-up game against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday night, scoring his first goal in international football in the 3-0 win at St James’ Park.

Despite Palmer’s breakout season, ex-Manchester United and England defender Neville says the Chelsea star will ‘likely’ start the tournament on the bench, tipping Foden and Saka to play either side of Kane.

Barring a late and disastrous injury blow, Kane will lead the line for England following a season in which he contributed 44 goals in 45 games for his new club Bayern Munich.

Neville expects Saka to play on the right after helping his boyhood side Arsenal mount another title challenge and says Foden, fresh from winning a sixth Premier League, will slot in on the left.

Discussing the England selection dilemmas ahead of Euro 2024, Neville said in The Overlap newsletter: ‘The question is, how on earth can Gareth get all of them into his team and maintain some balance?

‘He can’t keep all the people happy all of the time. And Southgate has shown in the past that he doesn’t do popularity contest. Last night’s 3-0 win over Bosnia probably just makes the issues even more confusing.

‘Kane at centre forward is, of course, a given. Bellingham presumably plays behind him as a No.10 in a midfield three, with Saka off the right, where he always plays for Arsenal and England.

‘Yet Foden is the Player of the Year and has to start. His favourite position would probably be Bellingham’s central role and, after that, he would probably prefer cutting in from the right, like Saka.

‘England have three brilliant left-footed wide players, including Palmer, but everyone wants to be an inverted winger these days. So Foden is the one who will probably fill that left-sided role, which he does do at times for City.’

While Neville believes Palmer will start the Euros from the bench, he says he could ‘make himself impossible to drop’ like a teenage Michael Owen did at the 1998 World Cup.

‘Palmer is in a situation similar to Michael Owen in 1998, a raw and relatively untested talent,’ Neville, who earned 85 caps for England, added.

‘No-one is a surprise in international football these days but most defenders wont have played against him yet. Right now though, his chance is likely to come as a substitute, as it did for Owen in 1998.

‘Then he may make himself impossible to drop, as Owen did, if he can translate his Chelsea form and goalscoring into this England team.

‘But Southgate has shown he’s not bothered by popular opinion or superstar status. His rule remains law with England. And that means Foden on the left, wherever he would prefer to play.

‘And at least one more defensively-minded midfielder will start. England fans may have to wait to see their dream team of Foden, Bellingham and Rice in midfield.’

England kick-start their Euro 2024 campaign on July 16 against Serbia, before facing Group C rivals Denmark and Slovenia as they look for a relatively stress-free progression to the knockout stages.

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