Five big talking points as England beat Bosnia and Herzegovina in Euros warm-up

England beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 at St James Park thanks to goals from Cole Palmer, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Kane.

It was the Three Lions’ penultimate game before the European Championships start later this month, with Gareth Southgate’s taking on Iceland at Wembley on Friday before heading out to Germany.

Here are five of the big talking points from England’s victory…

Palmer gives Southgate a selection headache

The rise of Chelsea star Cole Palmer has been nothing short of exceptional this season. To say he burst onto the scene would be an understatement, with the 22-year-old netting 22 times in the Premier League in an often extremely disjointed Chelsea side this season, sometimes singlehandedly dragging the Blues over the line in closely contested games.

Palmer had only played twice for the Three Lions prior to tonight, and the match at St. James’ Park was his first senior start for the side. The Chelsea star stepped up to the spot and coolly converted from the spot after Ezri Konsa had been fouled to open the scoring, as he so often has done for his club this season.

Despite his lack of experience on an international level, Palmer’s versatility and unique skill set will be hard to ignore for Southgate, and with his performances this season, the 22-year-old might very well have played himself into England’s starting eleven against Serbia on June 16th.

Trippier leads by example in familiar surroundings

Kieran Trippier has been an integral part of the England squad in all three international tournaments during Southgate’s tenure and ahead of his fourth, and rumoured to be final, international tournament as manager, Southgate’s faith in the Newcastle United full-back is as clear as ever.

Despite having played as a right-sided full back for the majority of his career, Southgate has often called upon the 33-year-old to play on the opposite flank, as was once again the case against Bosnia. Trippier has excelled in the left-back role whenever he has been called upon for club or country, and once again proved his importance to this England squad on the day.

The Three Lions captain led by example, commanding a somewhat inexperienced back-line at the international level which was comprised of Lewis Dunk, Marc Guéhi and Ezri Konsa, remaining calm and composed under moments of pressure. While it is still unclear whether Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw will be fit and available to play in any capacity at the Euros, with Trippier, left-back will not have to be an area of concern for the Three Lions’ boss.

A quiet day at the office for Watkins

Ollie Watkins enjoyed a stellar season as Aston Villa secured Champions League football for the first time in over 40 years. The Englishman proved integral to that success, scoring 27 goals in all competitions. Watkins was preferred over Brentford’s Ivan Toney at St. James’ Park and would have been hoping to secure his spot as Harry Kane’s backup in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 squad. But it instead proved to be a quiet day at the office for the England number nine.

Watkins was played in behind the Bosnian defence either side of half-time but failed to capitalise on either opportunity. The 28-year-old was withdrawn for Harry Kane moments after Palmer’s penalty conversion and will be glad Brentford star Toney was not handed the chance to impress Gareth Southgate following his struggles to make an impact on the game.

Capable understudies

While it is no secret that Southgate’s preferred centre-back partnership is John Stones and Harry Maguire, injury issues may call for the England boss to get creative with his back line with the Euros opener less than a fortnight away.

Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Crystal Palace’s Marc Guéhi were selected to start the game over uncapped Jarrad Branthwaite and proved themselves to be capable understudies to Stones and Maguire. The pair, who have garnered a combined 17 caps for England, nullified any potential Bosnian threat coming through the middle and often stepped up into the middle of the park to help advance the English attack.

With Dunk’s impressive one on one abilities and Guéhi so comfortable under pressure, the two compliment each other well, and Southgate might well have found a viable alternate centre-back partnership should Stones and Maguire not be able to start together come the start of the tournament.

Trent shows his quality

It was a quiet first half for the entire England team, including Trent Alexander-Arnold, but the Liverpool man stepped up after the break to show his quality in midfield with some brilliant passes into the final third. He capped off a fine performance with an excellent volley to double England’s lead and based on this display, is in with a good chance of starting alongside Declan Rice in the middle of the park. Especially in games where England are favourites and will have to play against deep blocks, where his passing ability can be key to unlocking the attackers.


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