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Kobbie Mainoo’s England admission makes Gareth Southgate’s decision even more bizarre



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Credit: ITV

Kobbie Mainoo’s recent England admission shows just how bizarre Gareth Southgate’s selection decisions have been of late.

England advanced into the knockout stages of the 2024 European Championships as Group C following a drab 0-0 draw against Slovenia on Tuesday evening.

Manchester United starlet Kobbie Mainoo came on at the beginning of the second half to play 45 minutes, with the side looking immediately better with the 19-year-old on the pitch.

Read More: Gareth Southgate highlights one Kobbie Mainoo moment vs Slovenia, his opinion is clear

Manager Gareth Southgate has been criticised for his team selections this tournament. He has only made one change to his starting XI across the three fixtures, and many do not understand why young players such as Mainoo, Adam Wharton, Anthony Gordon, and Cole Palmer have not been given chances.

England have scored two goals across the three games. Palmer, the latter of that list, was on fire for Chelsea last season, scoring 27 goals and providing 15 assists, but he only made his tournament debut with 19 minutes to go against Slovenia.

Following the tie, Mainoo was full of praise for his teammates, explaining the “electric” talent that Palmer possesses.

“Everyone knows he’s electric, and we’ve seen in the Premier League what he can do,” Mainoo told ITV following the draw. “He’s continuing that, and I’m sure he’ll continue to do in the next rounds as well.

Further, the interviewer asked Mainoo how Palmer had been in training, and the English midfielder explained that the 22-year-old had been “one of the best” in the England camp.

“One of the best in training every day, you know. He never lets off the gas. He’s always trying to score goals, always trying to get better, like the rest of the lads are as well, so that’s what we need.”

If Palmer has been one of England’s best players in training in the last few weeks, the decision from Southgate not to introduce him until late into the third game of the tournament looks even more bizarre.

His current front line of Phil Foden, Harry Kane, and Bukayo Saka is clearly not working, and if Palmer is there, he should be given his chance.

Speaking more generally, Mainoo explained that both he and Palmer are ready to play when called upon.

“Yeah, me and Cole [Palmer] are ready. We’re ready for whenever we’re called upon like the rest of the lads are,” he said.

“We train hard, and in the games, when we get our chances, we try and impress so we can start and help the team as much as possible. I love football, I love playing. Anyone who’s on the bench wants to come on the pitch.”

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