COLE PALMER showed why Pep Guardiola kept him at Manchester City this season as he lit up Lee Carsley’s England Under-21s bow.
Winger Palmer, 19, followed up Rhian Brewster’s penalty with a breathtaking second, pulling off an impudent Cruyff turn and firing into the corner.
Cole Palmer scored a beauty as England U21s beat Kosovo 2-0 in a Euros qualifier[/caption]
It was the highlight from a promising first game in charge for new boss Carsley, who succeeded Aidy Boothroyd in the summer as Young Lions chief.
There were eye-catching displays all over the pitch in a dominant performance but it was Palmer who shone brightest on his first Under-21 appearance.
The teenager would have had no shortage of takers to take him on loan this summer.
But City chief Guardiola preferred to keep the Manchester-born whizkid at the Etihad to personally oversee his development, just as he did a few years ago with Phil Foden.
The Spaniard has already shown how much he rates Palmer by playing him in the Community Shield and as a sub against Norwich, despite his embarrassment of riches out wide.
Palmer probably would not have started here were it not for Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe feeling unwell with a non-Covid illness, believed to be tonsillitis.
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Carsley, assisted by Ashley Cole and Joleon Lescott, made the perfect start when Brewster converted from the spot after being felled by the goalkeeper.
Palmer then took centre-stage by fooling the defender with his skilful turn and clinical finish to delight the 5,781 fans inside stadium:MK.
No more goals followed but it was still a very satisfying evening for Carsley, who had seen Friday’s friendly against Romania be cancelled due to two Covid cases in the Three Lions camp.
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The win made it 46 unbeaten qualifiers for England’s Under-21 side in a run that is almost a decade long.
That statistic proves how nothing less than a victory was expected here.
But Carsley will be encouraged by what he saw, and by Palmer in particular.
Rhian Brewster also netted for England with a penalty[/caption]
Lee Carsley marked his first game as U21s boss with a win[/caption]