England 3 Bosnia Herzegovina 0: As fringe players fight over squad places, Cole Palmer has a bigger goal in his sights

As Eberechi Eze was busy stating his case to be in England's squad for the European Championship, Cole Palmer was working towards a bigger goal: the starting XI against Serbia on June 16.

His first international goal, a second-half penalty, just underlined the feeling that the Chelsea playmaker, whose two previous caps came as a substitute, is ready to make waves in Germany. The problem is, where?

Palmer can play anywhere in the front four but with Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Harry Kane for competition – not to mention players of the quality of Eze in reserve, he is taking on a tall order.

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But Palmer was England's star performer on the Three Lions' first visit to St James' Park in 19 years, opening the scoring in a 3-0 win over Bosnia Herzegovina which did not resolve all that much for manager Gareth Southgate despite occasional flickers of promise.

COMING MAN: Cole Palmer converts his penalty for his first England goalCOMING MAN: Cole Palmer converts his penalty for his first England goal
COMING MAN: Cole Palmer converts his penalty for his first England goal

In fact, Trent Alexander-Arnold muddied the waters with the highlight of the night, a beautiful half-volley as Jack Grealish's chipped cross from the corner of the area dipped at his right boot.

Alexander-Arnold's midfield passing had upped England's threat level but he scored his wonderful goal from right-back – a position a fit Kyle Walker will surely not be budged from.

Much has rightly been made of Ivan Toney's penalty record when assessing his chances of making the cut from 33 to 26 on Friday night but Palmer is yet to miss a spot kick in his fledgling senior career.

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In the early stages, it looked like Eze might be the story of the night, and he certainly ended it in better shape than he started it.

AMBITIOUS PASSES: England  midfielder Trent Alexander-ArnoldAMBITIOUS PASSES: England  midfielder Trent Alexander-Arnold
AMBITIOUS PASSES: England midfielder Trent Alexander-Arnold

Just to be a fringe winger in this team is a competition almost as stiff as Palmer's but the Crystal Palace man’s performance was brimming with confidence carried over from a terrific end to the season, not worry about trying to outperform the likes of Jack Grealish – who replaced him just after the hour – and James Maddison.

On his first international start, Eze was full of flicks and tricks and hungry to run at a Bosnian defence which included Sheffield United centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic.

He showed great feet, then tremendous acceleration to go past Armin Gigovic but Palmer, coming out wide to collect his pass, saw his cross blocked and Conor Gallagher shot the loose ball over.

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Eze had drifted right when he picked the ball up and ran past two defender and again fed Palmer as he received an unpunished shove in the back from Dario Saric.

EFFORT SAVED: England right-back Ezri KonsaEFFORT SAVED: England right-back Ezri Konsa
EFFORT SAVED: England right-back Ezri Konsa

England won a corner, but Nikola Vaslij saved from Ezra Konsa.

Palmer was also making his first start too, and again you would never have known, dropping deep or wide to cause as many problems as possible.

it was his ball that threaded Ollie Watkins through in the 10th minute but the Aston Villa striker – handed the first audition as Harry Kane's deputy over Toney – paid for his honesty, shrugging off a pull by Nikola Katic but finding himself with too tight an angle to beat the goalkeeper.

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Elsewhere there were a couple of loose moments which with competition so high could be costly.

Jordan Pickford spoke to Lewis Dunk about a scruffy and uncertain piece of defending, seemingly urging the Brighton and Hove Albion defender to concentrate harder.

Dunk's partner, Marc Guehi was encouragingly for him given the left-sided berth, the more likely place to be up for grabs, but blotted his copybook when he was booked for a 29th-minute foul on Gigovic after Alexander-Arnold had left his team in trouble, selling them short with a pass.

Guehi was also caught out passing along his back four late in the first half, and must have been relieved to see Haris Hajradinovic's shot deflect wide.

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Generally, Alexander-Arnold's passes veered towards the more Hollywood variety from midfield.

At the start of the second half there were more through-balls than extravagant switches of play, in keeping with England's greater directness. They both looked better for it.

Watkins - who had already headed over at a corner - was unable to control one, and Palmer's shot from another had the goalkeeper scrambling, but deflected just wide. Conor Gallagher, energetic as the second holding midfielder, won a corner from another and when it came over, Benjamin Tahirovic's pull on Konsa was initially missed by the referee, but not when the video assistant referee sent him to the pitchside monitor.

Palmer hammered his penalty into the corner despite Vaslij guessing the right way as five England substitutes stood ready to come on.

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Alexander-Arnold moved to right-back in the rejig, prompting more sweeping switches and the second goal when he half-volleyed in.

Konza showed his adaptability, first moved to left-back, then right-sided centre-back and although he missed another chance at a set piece, it is not what he is in the team for.

Besides, Kane did not.

Gallagher's run from deep forced a save and when Konsa's shot was blocked. When substitute Kane pounced on the rebound, Vaslij made a hash of trying to keep it out.

Perhaps Toney would have been a better substitute – no England-watched needs telling that Kane has a pretty keen eye for goal.

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Like everyone watching from the sidelines, the Brentford striker will be frsutrated. Competition is hotting up and there are just 90 minutes left to book a seat on the plane. Palmer will be there but he should want more – and could yet get it.

England: Pickford; Konsa, Dunk (Gomez 73), Guehi (Branthwaite 62), Trippier (Wharton 62); Alexander-Arnold, Gallagher; Bowen, Palmer (Maddison 62), Eze (Grealish 62); Watkins (Kane 62).

Unused substitutes: Ramsdale, Quansah, Rice, Toney, Jones, Henderson, Trafford.

Bosnia Herzegovina: Vasilj; Bicakcic (Mujakic 73), Ahmedhodzic, Katic, Gazibegovic, Radeljic (Hadzikadunic 73); Hajradinovic, Gigovic, Tahirovic, Saric (Huseinbasic 63); Demirovic. (Tabakovic 73)

Unused substitutes: Dzeko, Hadzikic, Burnic, Sosic, Piric, Muharemovic.

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