Gareth Southgate criticises Cole Palmer despite Chelsea star scoring first England goal

Cole Palmer opened his England account against Bosnia and Herzegovina (Image: Getty)

England manager Gareth Southgate believes Cole Palmer could have helped himself to at least two goals in Monday’s 3-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina if he had got his shots off quicker. Palmer, who trailed only Erling Haaland in last season’s Premier League scoring charts, opened his international account from the spot in the Three Lions’ penultimate game before Euro 2024.

With time running out for Southgate to cast an eye over his provisional 33-man squad, Palmer was selected in the coveted No. 10 role at St James’ Park. Although it was a drab first-half performance from the Chelsea man, and indeed the rest of England’s attacking players, things picked up in the second period.

A pull-back on Ezri Konsa saw England awarded a penalty, and with Harry Kane still waiting to come on, Palmer took the on responsibility and fired his spot-kick past Nikola Vasilj.

But Southgate shared a criticism of the 22-year-old’s performance after the final whistle, insisting he could have enjoyed an even better evening with fewer delays in front of goal. On the performance of Palmer and an electric Eberechi Eze, the manager told Channel 4: “I thought they both played with the 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.”

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Cole Palmer converted his first England goal from the spot at St James’ Park (Image: Getty)

England picked up pace as the game went on, with Bosnia seeing barely any of the ball and failing to notch a single shot on target. Trent Alexander-Arnold joined Palmer on the scoresheet with a sweetly-struck volley in the 85th minute.

Harry Kane bundled in England’s third as full-time approached, with Southgate’s side eventually taking a handsome win into their final Euro 2024 warm-up game, against Iceland on Friday evening.

After finding the net on his first Three Lions start, Palmer told Channel 4: “It’s a great feeling, my first goal for my country. When it went in, it was buzzing. Of course [Kane] would’ve taken it, it was just before he came on. Thankfully, I took it.”

And on whether he has done enough to make Southgate’s final 26-man squad for the Euros, Palmer added: “I hope so. Tonight wasn’t my best game, finding my feet on my first start but hopefully I’ve done enough.”

Southgate will name his Euro 2024 squad by midnight on Friday, just two hours after the Iceland game at Wembley, with the list set to be made public the following day.