Why Cole Palmer is being overlooked by Gareth Southgate – but it’s Anthony Gordon who could spark life into England

FANS have been begging Gareth Southgate to get one man in the team amid fears that ‘Cold’ Palmer may be frozen out completely this summer.

Chelsea star Cole has not had a single second of action in England’s underwhelming opening two games at Euro 2024.

GettyCole Palmer is yet to feature at Euro 2024[/caption]

GettyThe Chelsea star has been left on the bench[/caption]

That is despite the 22-year-old either scoring or assisting a whopping 42 goals in all competitions this season.

But while the clamour for Palmer is understandable, it is another player unused against Serbia and Denmark whose introduction could spark some life into England’s tepid tournament.

Anthony Gordon has the pace and directness that Southgate’s side are crying out for down that left-hand side.

The Newcastle winger, 23, loves to go at players, works his socks off and will open up spaces for Jude Bellingham to exploit in the middle.

He could also be key to getting the best out of captain Harry Kane, who has looked way off it so far this tournament despite netting against the Danes.

Kane’s mobility has been a worry – perhaps that back injury suffered at the end of the season is still bothering him – but the team set-up does not appear to be playing to his strengths either.

As former skipper Alan Shearer pointed out, Kane needs players who have the capacity to run beyond him and make space.

It is why he flourished playing alongside Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, neither of whom are in the squad in Germany after poor club campaigns.



ENGLAND stumbled to a drab 1-1 draw with Denmark.

Here’s how SunSport’s Tom Barclay rated the Three Lions team.

Jordan Pickford: 6

Looked a little jittery early doors, though there was nothing he could do about Morten Hjulmand’s corker and he made a decent parry after the break.

Kyle Walker: 7 

Made England’s opener by racing round a sleeping Victor Kristiansen – he’ll be having nightmares of that forevermore – and teeing up Kane via a deflected cross.

John Stones: 6

OK but you have got to wonder how fit he feels having barely played for Man City in the second half of the season, plus his injury and illness issues over the last month.

Marc Guehi: 8 and my star man

Really encouraging again from the Crystal Palace centre-back, looking sharp with his interceptions and assured in distribution.

Kieran Trippier: 6

Like Stones, he was fine, but England really need Luke Shaw back ASAP because having no natural left-footer at left-back is a problem.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5

This experiment of playing Trent in midfield is far from convincing, especially when his passing was off it like it was here, barring one good ball to Saka. Subbed on 54 minutes.

Declan Rice: 5

Had to cover so much ground as England dropped worryingly deep in the first half and also lost it a few times in front of his back four.

Bukayo Saka: 7

Not quite as electric as his first half against Serbia, but another solid showing from our right winger who has been our most consistent attacker across the two games.

Jude Bellingham: 6

Nowhere near the majestic display he put in against Serbia and one of many who looked tired.

Phil Foden: 7

Was far more involved than against Serbia – although that was not hard – and had a few dangerous efforts from range, including one that smacked the post after the break.

Harry Kane: 6

Netted his 64th goal for his country with an opener he could not really miss, but then gave the ball away from Denmark’s leveller. Surprisingly subbed.


Conor Gallagher (on for Trent, 54): 7

Vital clearance on the stretch when Christian Eriksen was lurking and was not afraid to put his foot in.

Ollie Watkins (on for Kane, 70): 6

Played in by Bellingham’s lovely ball after coming on but could not finish from an acute angle.

Jarrod Bowen (on for Foden, 69): 6

Copped a nasty tackle which saw Joakim Maehle booked.

Eberechi Eze (on for Saka, 69): 6

On for his tournament bow though he was rarely involved.

Gordon would provide a similar quality to the team – and remember, that is what is all about, the team, not just about bundling in your best players.

We tried that with the golden generation under Sven with Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes etc and it came to nothing.


England need runners up top, especially with no attacking threat coming from left-back due to Luke Shaw’s injury and Southgate’s decision not to take another natural left-footer in that position.

Bukayo Saka has been our most consistent attacking performer on the right-hand side so he must stay in the team.

But on the left, sadly, it feels like Phil Foden should drop to the bench, despite a better display from the Manchester City man in Frankfurt.

His game just seems too similar to Bellingham, whose Serbia performance proved he has to be the starting No10 at the moment even if he was poor against Denmark, and England need width and legs out wide.

Foden would still have a huge role to play off the bench – and if Bellingham is poor against Slovenia in the final group game, could even come in for the Real man for the last 16 provided we get there.

It seems barmy given he was a deserving Player of the Year winner this term but his natural habitat is not wide left – he just wants to come in every time – and the blend is not working well.

Gordon, in contrast, is at home out on the wing.

His energy and capacity to stretch defences look to be what is missing right now.

Palmer, on the other hand, has a similar skillset to what is already in the team.

A technician, possessing unbelievable ability on the ball, and a calm head no doubt – he isn’t called Cold Palmer for nothing – but not blessed with electric pace and will not look to race in behind.

Gordon is big on visualisation, spending the night before games picturing how the match will go to give himself the best chance of shining when the whistle goes.

He has not been part of Southgate’s vision so far this tournament – let’s hope the England boss sees now that it is time to change that.

GettyAnthony Gordon will be visualising a big impact[/caption]

GettyGordon and Palmer are yet to leave the bench[/caption]

Pundits and legends lay into England

ENGLAND’s lifeless display in the 1-1 draw with Denmark left pundits and legends queuing up to take a dig at Gareth Southgate’s team.

Here’s the best of what was said…


“Awful performance, particularly after going up in the game.

“I don’t think one England player can look at themselves and say, ‘I’ve done my job tonight’.

“England were all over the place, far too sloppy in possession, gave the ball away too much and got caught too many times.

“There was no energy, no pace, no guile — Southgate is simply not getting the best out of England’s best players.

“It’s concerning and Gareth will get some serious questions.

“You saw England players lying on their backs — they look absolutely shattered but there’s no excuse for that.”


The BBC host called the performance “lifeless and tepid”.

On Harry Kane he said: “He needs his manager to ask more of him. I would have expected that if I’d put in that kind of performance.”


“The players don’t look the same as they do for their clubs. It is a big concern.”


“Courage and bravery, we’re not really seeing it.

“There’s something amiss with the balance. Bellingham is waving his arms.

“This is a big test for Gareth. It looks like he’s overthinking things.”


“My big worry watching this and for the rest of the tournament?

“England look absolutely knackered. They can’t get close to the ball.

“The surest sign of fatigue is dropping deep.

“Declan Rice is having to cover so much ground. No-one can convince me this is a strategy.”


“It’s strange that we have taken the lead in both games so far, yet instead of it settling us down and giving us the confidence to play, we have failed to take control.

“But what was most worrying was that Denmark had a clear way of playing — while we didn’t.”

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