Cole Palmer gets England reward for fine Chelsea form with Rico Lewis and Ezri Konsa also called up | OneFootball

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Evening Standard

·13 November 2023

Cole Palmer gets England reward for fine Chelsea form with Rico Lewis and Ezri Konsa also called up

Article image:Cole Palmer gets England reward for fine Chelsea form with Rico Lewis and Ezri Konsa also called up
Article image:Cole Palmer gets England reward for fine Chelsea form with Rico Lewis and Ezri Konsa also called up

Chelsea's Cole Palmer has capped a superb 24 hours with a first call-up to the senior England squad.


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Palmer, whose stoppage-time equaliser from the penalty spot earned Chelsea a 4-4 draw against his former club Manchester City on Sunday, has been promoted from the Under-21s, along with his former City team-mate Rico Lewis.

Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa has also earned a maiden senior call-up, following the withdrawals of James Maddison, Lewis Dunk and Callum Wilson, with Jude Bellingham also expected to be ruled out later on Monday once he has been assessed by England's medical staff.

Palmer initially missed out on a place in Gareth Southgate's squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia despite his excellent form, but injuries have opened the door for the 21-year-old.

Tottenham's Maddison withdrew on Friday morning, having been sidelined until January with ankle ligament damage, while Newcastle forward Wilson and Brighton centre-back Dunk were ruled out on Monday after missing their clubs' respective top-flight matches over the weekend.

Lewis, 18, has also been promoted from Lee Carsley's U21 squad for this Friday's game against Malta at Wembley and the trip to North Macedonia next week, while Konsa - an U20 World Cup winner in 2017 and former U21 international - is another player now in the frame to make a late push for a place at Euro 2024.

Palmer's emphatic spot-kick was his fourth goal since joining Chelsea from City in a £42.5million summer deal and he has been at the heart of the Blues' recent revival under Mauricio Pochettino, whose record at developing young English players is remarkable.

Article image:Cole Palmer gets England reward for fine Chelsea form with Rico Lewis and Ezri Konsa also called up

Cole Palmer has been instrumental to Chelsea's recent resurgence under Mauricio Pochettino

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City boss Pep Guardiola recently described Lewis as one of the best players he has ever coached, and the versatile teenager has often kept Kalvin Phillips, a Southgate favourite, out of the champions' midfield since breaking into the first team last season.

Southgate's decisions are another blow to Raheem Sterling, who also scored against his former club in Sunday's thriller at Stamford Bridge, and Arsenal's Ben White.

Southgate insisted last week that the absences of Sterling and White were down to football reasons alone but neither has been included in an England squad since returning to the UK from the Qatar World Cup for different reasons.

Asked about Sterling on Thursday, Southgate said: "The door is 100 per cent open not only for Raheem but for other players in this squad. There’s no doubt about that. We don’t need to know about his quality, his personality.

Article image:Cole Palmer gets England reward for fine Chelsea form with Rico Lewis and Ezri Konsa also called up

Rico Lewis has been promoted from the England U21 squad, along with Palmer

Manchester City FC via Getty Images

"He is a crucial part of why we’ve had the journey we’ve had over the last few years. I can only repeat what I’ve said in the last few squad selection meetings.

"The team are playing really well. We had an exceptional win against Italy last time around. Who do we leave out to put him in? It is as simple as that really."

Bellingham is also expected to be ruled out of the camp with a shoulder injury which kept him out of Real Madrid's win over Valencia on Saturday, although he has travelled to the UK and will be assessed by the Football Association's (FA) medical staff at St George's Park.

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