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Other SportsPalmer feeling vindicated over Manchester City exit after receiving England call-up

Palmer feeling vindicated over Manchester City exit after receiving England call-up

Cole Palmer believes his decision to leave Manchester City has been vindicated after receiving his first senior England call-up, saying his £40million move to Chelsea is already “paying off”.

Palmer joined Chelsea on transfer deadline day in September in a bid for regular gametime. Though the forward made 25 appearances across all competitions as City won a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble last season, 18 of those came from the bench.

The 21-year-old has assumed a key role in Mauricio Pochettino’s new-look Blues side since his transfer, and he returned to haunt his former club on Sunday.

Palmer stepped up to convert a 95th-minute penalty as Chelsea fought back in a remarkable 4-4 draw with the champions at Stamford Bridge. He now has four goals in his last five Premier League appearances, all of which have come from the spot.

Gareth Southgate then rewarded Palmer for his form with a maiden England call-up, with the likes of Jude Bellingham and James Maddison withdrawing from the Three Lions squad through injury.

As he looks to make his senior international debut in Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta at Wembley Stadium, Palmer believes he made the right choice by joining Chelsea.

“You know how good a manager Pep [Guardiola] is, and he gave me the opportunity and the platform to kick-start my career, so I’ll always be grateful to him,” Palmer said.

“Who knows what would have happened had I stayed. Maybe I would have played more, maybe not. But the decision to move to Chelsea, so far, is paying off.

“It was a really tough decision, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. But with the competition that’s there [at City], the players they have and those they were going to sign, I made my choice.

“I was speaking to people at Chelsea, and I spoke to my dad, but I really didn’t know what to do. I was thinking about it for a couple of days, near enough every minute of the day.

“In the end, I felt that for my career I had to leave to get regular gametime.

“It was a big move for me as I’d never been out of Manchester. I hadn’t been on loan or anything like that, so to move down here on my own was a big thing. When I arrived, it was difficult as I was staying in a hotel, but I’ve now settled in.”

Having helped England’s under-21s to a European Championship title earlier this year, Palmer insists a senior call-up was not in his thinking when he made the move to Stamford Bridge.

“I wasn’t even thinking about an England call-up when I first went to Chelsea,” he said. “I just wanted more of an opportunity to prove myself. Getting called up is just a bonus.

“I got the news straight after the match [against City]. My phone was going crazy because I’ve got some City fans who are mates and family.

“I’m going to try to make the biggest impact possible, by creating chances and hopefully scoring. I’m new so I will speak to as many people as I can. I will try to get settled quickly. I already know the City boys; Walks [Kyle Walker], Jack [Grealish], Phil [Foden].”

With England assured of a place at next year’s tournament in Germany, Palmer knows a positive impact in this month’s fixtures could give him a chance of gatecrashing Southgate’s squad for the Euros.

“I’d love to go to the Euros, but I’ve got to play well at club level first,” Palmer added. “All the attackers are amazing players, so there’s a lot of competition.

“It’s a big step up from the youth team given the players that are here, but it’s easier as we’re trying to produce the same style throughout the age groups.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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