Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis called up for England 2024 Euro qualifiers

Chelsea and Manchester City players promoted from Under-21 duty for matches against Malta and North Macedonia

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England manager Gareth Southgate has called-up Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.

The Chelsea and Manchester City players will join up with the squad as the Three Lions face Malta at Wembley Stadium on Friday before taking on North Macedonia three days later in Skopje.

Both attacking midfielder Palmer and the versatile Lewis – who can operate at right-back or defensive midfield – had been named in the Under-21 squad but with injuries to the likes of James Maddison and Callum Wilson, they have been called-up for senior duty.

With Brighton defender Lewis Dunk also ruled out due to injury, Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa, 26, has also earned his first call-up, while Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham is also a doubt but stays with the squad.

Palmer and Lewis were teammates at City last season before the former moved to Chelsea in a surprise £40 million transfer in the summer.

The 21-year-old scored Chelsea's late leveller from the penalty spot when the two teams clashed in Sunday's manic 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge.

That was Palmer's fourth goal for the Blues – all penalties – adding to the two he scored for City in the Community Shield and Uefa Super Cup in 14 appearances this season.

“He is a player that understands the game and used the half positions,” said Pochettino after the City match. “He always gives the option to play and find the free man. He is a playmaker that links other things and makes the team look good.”

Lewis, also 21, was an unused substitute against Chelsea but has become an important member of Pep Guardiola's side.

After the treble winners' Champions League victory over RB Leipzig last month, the Spanish manager described Lewis as one of the best players he has ever coached.

“What a player! What a player!” Guardiola said. “I’ve been a manager for 14, 15, years and lucky to train one of the best players in the world in Barcelona.

“To find a player like him playing in the pockets, how he has to move as a holding midfielder, moving in the spaces, he is one of the best I’ve ever trained by far.

“He’s a humble guy, doesn’t talk much. He didn’t play much this season but he is going to play a lot.”

Southgate's side currently sit top of Group C and have already secured their spot for next year's finals in Germany after winning five out of six games and drawing the other.

Qualification was sealed after their 3-1 win over Italy at Wembley last month which meant England completed a double over the team that defeated them in the delayed Euro 2020 finals.

Updated: November 13, 2023, 10:17 AM