Football News

Cole Palmer the future of England, says Emmanuel Petit

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:00, 19 March 2024 | Updated: 10:16, 22 March 2024

Emmanuel Petit has described Chelsea midfielder Cole Palmer as the future of England.

The multifunctional talent relocated last summer from his boyhood club, Manchester City, for a reported £40m, and the England international has not looked back since.

In another whirlwind transfer spree, which saw no fewer than 12 players join the Stamford Bridge club, Palmer is unquestionably their best piece of business, and he’s firmly in contention for the season’s best Premier League signing.

Heading into the March international break, Palmer hopes to win a third and fourth Three Lions cap. The 21-year-old enjoys a stellar Blues debut campaign even if Mauricio Pochettino’s side languishes in 11th place.

Last time out, as Chelsea ran out 4-2 winners over Leicester City in their FA Cup quarter-final tie, Palmer moved onto 14 goals in all competitions this season, the most by a player in their first season for the Blues since Alvaro Morata in 2017-18 (15 goals).

Furthermore, the native of Wythenshawe has scored and assisted a goal in six separate games for Chelsea in all competitions this season; the most any Premier League player has done so in 2023-24.

His standout performances earned numerous lofty plaudits, with Petit the latest to lend his voice.

“Yes, definitely,” he told when asked if Palmer deserves to be in the England squad for the Euros this summer.

“Because this guy represents the future for the national team. This guy is probably the best player for Chelsea so far, and we all know how difficult it is to be good for Chelsea with the environment.

“On top of it, this guy’s got quality, he’s got character, he takes penalties all the time with Chelsea. But he can play different positions, which is very interesting for [Gareth] Southgate in terms of tactics against different opponents.

“He can move in different positions, just like [Phil] Foden with City. Foden is quite the same. I think Foden is a better player, but I think they’ve got some similarities in their game in terms of position, technique, things like this. So yes, definitely he should be at the Euros.”

The chances of City regretting his departure might not be high, given that Pep Guardiola’s men are once again chasing an improbable treble, which they completed last term with Palmer effectively a squad player.

“I said to him ‘, Riyad Mahrez is leaving; you are going to get a chance here’,” Guardiola recounted. “He said, ‘No, I’m not going to play here, I want to leave’ so I said ‘OK, leave!'”

However, the numbers he’s producing will give the Spanish tactician some pause. For starters, he’s been directly involved in 19 goals (11 goals, eight assists) in the Premier League this season—only Ollie Watkins (16 goals, ten assists), Mohamed Salah (15 goals, nine assists), Erling Haaland (18 goals, five assists), Son Heung-Min (14 goals, eight assists), and Bukayo Saka (13 goals, eight assists) are performing better in the Premier League this season.

Phil Foden (11 goals, seven assists) and Julián Álvarez (eight goals, eight assists), though, are not far behind, while no player 21 or younger in Europe’s top five leagues has been more productive (level with Jude Bellingham: 16 goals, three assists).

“It’s no surprise that he is showing great personality and character. The way that he adapted really quick to a new club like Chelsea and adapted to the demands of this coaching staff and dealt with the pressure of playing in a big club like Chelsea, that makes him special, and then his quality is there,” Pochettino recently said.

“The most important thing is how he handles the pressure, because we have amazing players but sometimes they struggle and they need time to deal with that. It was amazing, the way that he adapted to a new club and now it feels like he’s been at this club for 20 years. He plays easy, doesn’t feel the pressure and performs in the way that he can do, because the quality is there.”

Having someone like Palmer, who is playing beyond his years and is this consistent, makes Pochettino’s job somewhat easier. He’s scored in each of his last five home Premier League starts for Chelsea, becoming the sixth player for the Blues in the competition and the first since Olivier Giroud in December 2020.

“Cole Palmer is a top, top player. And you know, the left foot, sometimes they have something magical,” club legend Eden Hazard commented last month. Hazard (22 – 2014/15, 22 – 2013/14) and Mason Mount (22 – 2021/22) enjoyed more productive seasons for Chelsea when they were 21 or younger.

It’s not just the Chelsea fraternity that is waxing lyrical about Palmer. When Troy Deeney asked Jermain Defoe which players he would pay to watch, the former Tottenham centre-forward said, “Right now? Cole Palmer.”

His response led Deeney to comment: “Cole Palmer? That’s a mad first name to throw out, bro! I think he’s sick, by the way. You could go Messi, Ronaldo, Haaland, and you went Cole Palmer.”

“I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it,” Defoe responded. “You know what I’m thinking about I want to go and watch someone who for the next 10, 15 years can be anything they want to be. Going forward now, I want to go and watch someone who’s young, exciting.”