Eberechi Eze and Cole Palmer press England claims as Bosnia beaten – 5 talking points

Eberechi Eze and Cole Palmer press England claims as Bosnia beaten - 5 talking points

Cole Palmer of England celebrates scoring his team’s first goal (Image: Matt McNulty – The FA)

ENGLAND 3-0 BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: At St. James’ Park, late goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Kane gave Gareth Southgate’s team the victory. Cole Palmer scored from the penalty spot.

As England began their serious preparations for EURO 2024, they defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0.

The first of England’s two friendlies was played at St. James’ Park, a rare away game from Wembley. The most seasoned player on the international scene, Jordan Pickford, was part of Gareth Southgate’s inexperienced team.

A jilted performance was therefore probably to be expected. It was not a particularly fluid outing, as is frequently the case in the lead-up to an international competition.

After a quiet first half, Cole Palmer and Eberechi Eze provided brief bursts of excitement. In the second half, England made a more determined effort to push forward. Palmer, who scored nine goals for Chelsea in 2023–24, made no errors from the penalty spot for England; it took Ezri Konsa’s shirt to be pulled in the box.

By the end of the game, Harry Kane and Trent Alexander-Arnold had made sure of a more favorable score. Mirror Football examines the lessons we can draw from the match.

group of competitors

There weren’t many players in Southgate’s starting XI for the match against Bosnia who could be guaranteed a spot when the Three Lions campaign begins in less than two weeks. Naturally, after the Champions League final and the time off given to Manchester United and City players, the England manager was still shorthanded in some areas, but this starting lineup was full of players vying for a spot in the starting lineup.

Palmer and Eberechi Eze, who started the team’s first game and lined up at No. 10 and left, respectively, were immediately effective in England’s attacking play. Palmer discovered that Ollie Watkins was cramped during the first hour, whereas Eze was a bustling regular outlet.

Eberechi Eze and Cole Palmer press England claims as Bosnia beaten - 5 talking points

Eberechi Eze of England battles for possession with Haris Hajradinovic and Dario Saric ( Image: Matt McNulty)

In addition, Jarrod Bowen was in the forward line while Bukayo Saka tended to his wounds. The Irons starlet had a subdued first half but emerged during the second half.

In order to advance further, Adam Wharton and Jarrad Branthwaite earned their debuts in the second period. Given that he played 90 minutes at every backline position, Konsa’s impact should not be undervalued.

Kane’s comfort
The Bayern Munich forward did not start, but the fact that he was on the substitute bench should calm any concerns about the injuries that kept him out of the game. Although Kane has only recently resumed training after a back injury, Southgate was always optimistic about his return for the Euros. As they say, though, deeds speak louder than words.

Kane was one of the substitutes while Anthony Gordon—who also sustained an injury at the end of the season—was not. When the striker entered the game after the hour, England had more options. The captain was even willing to collect the ball when there were defenders standing between him and the goal. Naturally, a goal came next.

Trent test for Alexander-Arnold
As England looks to make sure they have options to provide balance in the center of the pitch to complement players like Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, Liverpool’s full back was put to the test in the center of midfield once more. Alexander-Arnold was partnered with Conor Gallagher on Monday night as the Three Lions’ go-to option in build-up play.

The 25-year-old put on a neat performance without blowing everyone away, as his long-range attempts to quarter-back frequently fell short for players like Eze and Watkins. Nonetheless, it did illustrate the potential open dimensions when the team is operating at maximum capacity.

In the second half, he was positioned further upfield as England attempted to press the opposition, which made his passing more dangerous in the box. This is the kind of performance that will keep Southgate guessing without making any firm decisions; in fact, Alexander-Arnold’s impact may only increase over the course of the upcoming competition.

Eberechi Eze and Cole Palmer press England claims as Bosnia beaten - 5 talking points

Trent Alexander-Arnold of England celebrates with teammate James Maddison ( Image: Eddie Keogh – The FA)

But with ten minutes left, Alexander-best Arnold’s came from the right flank with a curling crossfield attempt. Deserving of its own objective. The star of Liverpool quickly earned one with a beautiful finish from a close range.

The issue facing Jack Grealish
The Manchester City player, who has had little effect for the Premier League winners, was still named in England’s preliminary squad. Under Pep Guardiola, Grealish made just 10 starts in the division last season and might feel that his position is precarious.

The reason given by Southgate for starting the former Aston Villa player on the bench was that Grealish arrived later and there was less information available about Eze. It’s possible that Southgate’s knowledge did not support Grealish.

Much of what the Man City winger did for England earlier in his career was provided by the Crystal Palace star. Fearlessness with the ball, as well as the capacity to advance and draw fouls as a consequence.

It will be interesting to see if Grealish can continue to provide that alternative option in the same capacity given his reduced role at City. The forward looked to make an impact with some cutting passes into the box during his 30-minute allotment to stake his claim; more of the same will be needed.

Inoffensive implication
Though it is unlikely, Southgate may have given away something by starting England’s backline with Konsa, Lewis Dunk, Marc Guehi, and Kieran Trippier.

Despite Dunk playing a more prominent role in the central partnership for Brighton, it was Palace’s Guehi who occupied the left side of the formation. Guehi might be considered the preferred choice to replace Harry Maguire or to give him competition as a result. It’s unlikely that one poorly timed pass in the first half will cause that to happen.

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