3 England players who bizarrely haven't been given minutes at Euro 2024

  • England have struggled through first two games of Euro 2024
  • Gareth Southgate's current side lacks balance
  • Options in the squad capable of providing a boost
England have options in their squad capable of boosting their Euro 2024 campaign
England have options in their squad capable of boosting their Euro 2024 campaign / Stu Forster/GettyImages

This England team needs a boost if they're to enjoy the deep run many projected at Euro 2024.

The Three Lions have all but progressed into the knockout stages having amassed an unconvincing four points from their opening two games. Victory over Slovenia on Tuesday would see them top the group and face a third-place opponent in the round of 16.

On paper, things don't appear too bad for England. However, it doesn't exactly require a forensic investigation or an assessment of underlying numbers to work out that all is not well in Gareth Southgate's camp.

The manager is struggling to establish a balance and England have produced two drab performances as a result. Serbia didn't have enough to punish them on matchday one, but Denmark, courtesy of a Morten Hjulmand piledriver from distance, did.

England have been successful while rarely dazzling at previous tournaments under Southgate, yet any feeling of positive momentum or the Three Lions building towards something in Germany are non-existent. This is more 2010 World Cup than Euro 2020.

Fortunately, Southgate has options at his disposal that he's yet to turn to capable of igniting England's campaign. Here are three players who scandalously haven't played a single minute at Euro 2024.

1. Cole Palmer

Cole Palmer
Palmer made the England squad off the back of a superb 2023/24 season with Chelsea / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

Only Erling Haaland scored more Premier League goals than Palmer last season. The former Man City starlet carried an up-and-down Chelsea on his back, recording 33 goal contributions in the top flight.

His remarkable form saw him earn a deserved call-up to Southgate's 26-man squad for the tournament, but the England boss is yet to pivot to the instinctive playmaker.

Palmer is the ultimate 'makes things happen' player. While not a controller or a midfielder in the mould of Jude Bellingham, Palmer can grab games by the scruff of the neck. He always wants to be involved.

The Chelsea man doesn't provide a solution down the left-hand side, nor should he be expected to start ahead of Bellingham as England's #10 or over Bukayo Saka down the right. However, it's remarkable that Southgate hasn't turned to Palmer off the bench.

Whether it's helping England get up the pitch in transition or offering a source of fearlessness in possession, Palmer has plenty to offer this team. Not to mention his knack for producing in the final third.

2. Adam Wharton

Adam Wharton
Wharton could provide solutions in the build-up / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

Poor Gareth. He hasn't got his "natural" Kalvin Phillips replacement. Boo hoo.

Well, Mr Southgate. You may not have a midfielder with a lot of hair coming off perhaps the worst loan spell in Premier League history, but you've got Adam bloody Wharton. Use him!

The Crystal Palace midfielder's rise has been meteoric since his winter move to Selhurst Park, and he wasn't included in Southgate's squad as a PR stunt. Wharton's in Germany on merit, and he could help this struggling England side.

England are suffering without 2021 Phillips, and a wholesale structural change needs to occur if they're to be successful at Euro 2024. They need to be more aggressive across the board, and while Conor Gallagher can run around and win second balls, England need a sound blocker of space who's also capable of boosting the side's confused build-up.

Wharton may be inexperienced, but he can resist pressure and break lines. He's here for a reason, Gareth.

3. Anthony Gordon

Anthony Gordon
Gordon is the runner England need / Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages

While Palmer has the potential to be a difference-maker off the bench and Wharton could bring to an end the Trent Alexander-Arnold midfield gimmick, Gordon could offer England the balance going forward they're desperately lacking.

Phil Foden and Kieran Trippier's relationship is non-existent down the left, and England's play has been incredibly predictable as a result. They're currently only using 70% of the pitch.

Gordon is not only a natural left-winger who's teammates with Trippier on Tyneside, but he's a runner! He actually runs in behind!

England are not only funnelling their possession away from the left, but all of it is happening in front of the opponent's backline. Defences are rarely getting stretched, minimising the room for Harry Kane, Foden, and Bellingham to play.

Stationing Gordon wide left would challenge defences horizontally and vertically. He'll hug the touchline and make darting runs in behind to keep 'em honest. Southgate opted for the Newcastle star over the likes of Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford, but his inclusion has so far been nothing short of pointless.