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Euro 2024 warm-up: Southgate says Bosnia win has given him ‘extra headaches’

England boss hails impact of Cole Palmer and Eberechi Eze as he plots which 26 players to take to Germany

England football manager Gareth Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate admits the friendly win over Bosnia has caused him additional headaches.

Southgate has just four days to decide which 26 players he will be taking to Germany for Euro 2024, with seven members of the provisional squad set to be left behind.

The likes of Eberechi Eze, Cole Palmer and Adam Wharton surely enhanced their chances of making the cut with impressive contributions at St James Park, while the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Conor Gallagher likely cemented their place in Southgate’s plans.

England found it tough to break down the low block of the Bosnians in the first half and it was only an increase in tempo after the turnaround which eventually paid dividends.

Southgate told Channel 4: “They were an opponent that were dogged, determined. Physically, it was a good workout but in the end, a good performance. The scoreline reflected the performance.

“We had a lot of fresh players to bring in. Once you break that resistance then it starts to come. A lot players didn’t have many caps that started so it was going to be a sticky start.”

The bright points in the first 45 minutes were the dynamic showing of 22-year-old Crystal Palace man Eze and Chelsea star Palmer, who drifted into space and was at the heart of almost everything England did in the final third.

“I thought they both played with the freedom, Southgate said. “Ebere has got lovely movement to go past players, he’s got power. A couple of times, Cole was being too precise and if he got his shots away earlier maybe he could’ve got a couple.”

Harry Kane played the final half-hour off the bench and grabbed his 63rd England goal on his 90th appearance, showing no ill effects off the back problem which cut short his Bayern Munich season.

“He had the audacity to ask to come on and to score the penalty (which Cole Palmer converted for his first England goal) which was never going to happen!” Southgate told BBC 5 Live. “The plan for him today was to have half-an-hour and then he will start on Friday (against Iceland at Wembley.”

Southgate added: “The great thing is we’ve got through the last few days with no new problems. That’s really important. We needed to get through these first matches to get a clearer picture and the guys rehabbing have done well.

“It’s a little bit (of a new headache) but that’s a good thing. I would rather have good performances than poor performances.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.