England player ratings: Eze, Palmer strengthen claims as secret weapons

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England player ratings: Eze, Palmer strengthen claims as secret weapons

England kicked off their European Championship preparation with a 3-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina at St James’ Park thanks to goals from Cole Palmer, Trent Alexander-Arnold and captain Harry Kane.

An experimental side stepped up their pace after a dull first half and Palmer, who scored nine penalties for Chelsea this season, broke the deadlock with his first England goal in the 60th minute from the spot after Ezri Konsa was tugged down in the box.

Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold, who was one of the bright spots on the night, doubled their lead in the 85th minute with his third goal for England when he fired home from a tight angle. Kane scored four minutes later when he poked the ball in from close range after a scramble in front of goal.

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Jarrod Bowen admits he had nerves ahead of England’s match against Bosnia and Herzegovina as he bids to secure a spot in Gareth Southgate’s Euros squad.

Several key players including midfielder Jude Bellingham, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid on Saturday, were missing, but the match was much about manager Gareth Southgate deciding on which seven players he must cut before Friday’s deadline for their 26-man squad.

Sky Sports assesses who performed well and who needs to to be handed a lifeline when England host Iceland in their final friendly on Friday at Wembley before departing for Germany.

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Sky Sports’ Rob Dorsett discusses England’s 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina at St James Park with the players who may have impressed Gareth Southgate to put their name in the hat for the final squad at Euro 2024.

England player ratings

England celebrate Trent Alexander-Arnold's goal

Image: England celebrate Trent Alexander-Arnold’s goal

Jordan Pickford – 6

An odd selection given his importance to the England side and his Sunderland roots. Even walked into the away dressing room at half-time. Very little to gain from his selection at St James’ Park when any two of Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson or James Trafford could have shared minutes to test their temperament in the event that a No 2 is needed in Germany. Thankfully underworked.

Ezri Konsa – 7

Given the nod at right-back, where he has excelled at times for Unai Emery’s Aston Villa. Snatched at a chance when the ball fell at his feet inside the box and wasted a good opening on an overlapping run but his versatility – he later moved to left-back and then centre-back – makes him a very viable option. Always a threat at set-pieces, and it was his presence forced the shirt pull for England’s opener.

Ezri Konsa played at right-back at St James' Park

Image: Ezri Konsa played at right-back at St James’ Park

Kieran Trippier – 6

Captain for the night on his 47th cap but England’s problem position. The more progressive Luke Shaw has returned to training and should be risked even at 75 per cent fit ahead of Trippier for his courage on the ball and drive. Conservative cut-back onto his right foot slowed everything down.

Kieran Trippier shows his frustration on Monday

Image: Kieran Trippier shows his frustration on Monday

Marc Guehi – 6

Slack pass that Haris Hajradinovic failed to punish summed up England’s laboured first-half display. His lack of game time for Crystal Palace due to injury showed in a rusty performance.

Lewis Dunk – 7

Preferred to Jarrad Branthwaite for his experience, Dunk looked more assured in an England shirt than he did for large parts of the 2023/24 campaign with Brighton. Southgate likes him, and Dunk responded positively to that show of faith. Made some important blocks for England and had a couple of efforts saved from corners in a composed display at the back.

Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a superb second on the volley from a tight angle

Image: Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a superb second

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8

When not under pressure, his range of passing was fully on display. One clubbed ball into Watkins’ path deserved a goal, another first-time ball created another opening. His sixth start in midfield for England, the lingering doubts over whether he can make the transition are being eased. Goal capped a player-of-the-match display.

Conor Gallagher – 7

Typically industrious in the double pivot alongside Alexander-Arnold. Has taken on the Jordan Henderson role in Southgate’s set-up. A no-frills, dependable performer whose experience places him in front of Kobbie Mainoo in the pecking order.

Conor Gallagher was composed in possession

Image: Conor Gallagher was composed in possession

Eberechi Eze – 7

A mesmeric moment midway through the first half saw him toy with three Bosnia defenders, slaloming through challenges, releasing the ball to a team-mate before being clattered to the ground. The left side of Southgate’s attack is up for grabs and Eze did his chances no harm.

Eberechi Eze was handed his first England start

Image: Eberechi Eze was handed his first England start

Cole Palmer – 8

Lovely weighted pass in a tight pocket of space released Watkins for an early chance. Was given license to drift wide, and underlined his huge promise with quick feet leading to a low shot. Slipped in taking his penalty but didn’t prove costly. If Southgate uses him this summer, it has to be in a free role.

Cole Palmer scores his penalty for his first England goal

Image: Cole Palmer scores his penalty for his first England goal

Jarrod Bowen – 6

Filled in for the absent Bukayo Saka in only his eighth England cap on the right side of midfield and while he improved in the second half, he faces an anxious wait. Kept on for the entirety and denied his first England goal by his own team-mate, Konsa. Southgate needs to make a decision on who is Saka’s understudy should the Arsenal man suffer another injury setback, but he may have to look beyond Bowen.

Jarrod Bowen improved in the second period

Image: Jarrod Bowen improved in the second period

Ollie Watkins – 6

Showed good strength and honesty to stay up when hauled back by Nikola Katic, running through on goal only to have his shot saved. It was as good as it got for the Aston Villa striker, who was well-marshalled and in the fringes thereafter until his replacement.

Ollie Watkins was denied with an early opportunity

Image: Ollie Watkins was denied with an early opportunity

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Gareth Southgate reacts to England’s 3-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina and suggests there is still places in his squad to play for that will head to Germany for Euro 2024.

Harry Kane (on for Watkins, 61) – 7

Celebrated goal No 63 in an England shirt. Just his presence immediately after Palmer’s penalty unnerved Bosnia as they retreated into their shell. Had two half-chances at both posts within 10 minutes before a rasping drive from the same spot Alan Shearer scored his favourite Newcastle goal against Everton. Showed no signs of post-season Bayern blues.

Harry Kane and Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrate England's win

Image: Harry Kane and Alexander-Arnold celebrate England’s win

James Maddison (on for Palmer, 61) – 5

Over-hit a free-kick but provided some spark going forward and had a couple of chances, including skewing an effort wide. Played as though this was a free hit afforded to him after a disappointing second half of the season for Tottenham plagued by injuries. With the options available to Southgate, it is becoming hard to justify his place on the plane.

James Maddison was given a 30-minute cameo

Image: James Maddison was given a 30-minute cameo

Adam Wharton – 6 (on for Eze, 61)

Always showed for the ball as he split the two centre-backs. Almost all of Southgate’s midfield options prefer to get forward in a more advanced role. It may come too soon this summer, but having someone with Wharton’s discipline bodes well for the future. Worked well alongside Gallagher in the centre of the midfield and recycled the ball well.

Jack Grealish – 7 (on for Trippier, 61)

Collected the pass of the match from Alexander-Arnold to set up Maddison for a decent opening, and teed up Alexander-Arnold for England’s second. His lack of football leaves a question mark but a tournament without his personality both on the ball and in the camp feels incomplete.

Jarrad Branthwaite – 6 (on for Guehi, 61)

Handed his first minutes for the senior time having only played six times in the Premier League before this season. A slight surprise given his club form he wasn’t handed a start, but given the versatility of Southgate’s other defensive options – and his clear preference for Dunk and Guehi as the understudies to John Stones and Harry Maguire. A quiet finish to the half for the defender who looked composed at the back. Booked.

Joe Gomez – 6 (on for Dunk, 73)

Featured at left-back. Another flexible option but another right-footer. The Liverpool defender also endured a quiet finish to the game and was solid in the final stages.

The key dates for England

Gareth Southgate has one remaining game before announcing his 26-man squad

Image: Gareth Southgate has one remaining game before announcing his 26-man squad

All times BST

Friday June 7 – international friendly, England vs Iceland at Wembley, kick-off 7.45pm

Friday June 7 – Final 26-player squad submitted to UEFA

Saturday June 8 – Final 26-player squad announced

Monday June 10 – England squad fly to Germany

Saturday June 16 – Serbia vs England, Gelsenkirchen, kick-off 8pm

Thursday June 20 – Denmark vs England, Frankfurt, kick-off 5pm

Tuesday June 25 – England vs Slovenia, kick-off 8pm

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