News Update


Manchester City 1-1 Sevilla: Cole Palmer walked into the spotlight with ease, but what about his future?

Cole Palmer has long been hailed as one of Manchester City’s next big stars, and he proved why in the intense heat and humidity of Athens when his side won the Uefa Super Cup.

The 21-year-old from Wythenshawe, admired by clubs outside Manchester as well as City, drew applause from near and far as Pep Guardiola’s side added the newest prize to last season’s tally of the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup.

He scored City’s equalizer just after the hour mark with a precise header, displaying the languid abilities that saw him score a magnificent goal in the Community Shield against Arsenal at Wembley.

Palmer received praise when his team rallied from behind to win 5-4 on penalties after an enthralling 1-1 game with Sevilla.

The praise came from afar, in the form of a tweet from Al-Ahli’s Riyad Mahrez, one of his renowned Manchester City predecessors on the right wing, which he played in Athens.

When Palmer, who was justifiably named man of the match, was substituted, Mahrez tweeted applause.

Palmer also received a hug from his fastidious boss during a performance that indicated at what a remarkable talent he could become under the expert tuition of the Catalan.

West Ham United have expressed interest in City’s Brazilian star Lucas Paqueta, but this was a performance that hinted Palmer might accomplish huge things when surrounded by this special squad at Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola, on the other hand, stated that the England Under-21 international’s future at the club was doubtful.

“I don’t know [if he will stay],” the City manager admitted. “When we arrived, I assumed he wanted to leave, but now I’m not sure.”

“I don’t think a loan will be granted.” He’s either going to stay or be sold.

“He demonstrated character – it is difficult to play defenders like [Marcos] Acuna – a young player in these stages, it is difficult.” He performed well and scored a wonderful goal.”

Guardiola had nothing to do with the widespread perception that the Uefa Super Cup match was a glorified friendly – essentially Europe’s version of the Community Shield.

The scenes when Sevilla’s Nemanja Gudelj smacked a penalty kick against the crossbar to give City the win after nine successful kicks were clear proof of it.

The celebrations were raucous, with Guardiola theatrically kissing Erling Haaland as he displayed the trophy in front of City fans, delighting in a second major European triumph in a couple of months after waiting so long to raise the Champions League.

Guardiola and City wanted this title to prove that they are now firmly entrenched among Europe’s football elite, and it did.

It didn’t happen without a lot of sweat – literally on this hot night in Athens – and some excellent work from goalkeeper Ederson, whose save from Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri in the second half prevented the Spanish Europa League holders from extending their lead.

‘Palmer is at ease in the company of the elite.’
City left Greece with one enormous cloud on their horizon after a very depressing trip. On Tuesday, Guardiola indicated that the great Belgian Kevin de Bruyne may be out for three or four months if he needs surgery for a “serious” hamstring injury.

City’s creative forces were already weakened by the departures of Mahrez and former captain and famous match-winner Ilkay Gundogan. So removing De Bruyne from his resources was a problem he didn’t need.

To remedy the immediate situation, he is expected to go outside his squad, with Paqueta a key target and Rennes attacker Jeremy Doku also mentioned.

Guardiola, on the other hand, made no attempt to hide how harmful a lengthy absence for De Bruyne may be.

The midfielder’s supply line to the prolific Haaland, who assisted on 11 of his astounding total of 52 goals last season, was critical to the club’s success, and they will miss his golden touch and creative skills until he returns to fitness.

Guardiola will investigate how he can compensate for De Bruyne’s absence with his usual meticulous attention to detail, and his track record suggests he will investigate every option to guarantee City remain the unstoppable force they have become in recent seasons.

This might mean more opportunities for Palmer if he remains, since he appeared to be a player ready to take his game to the next level.

With his ability to move past players, send inviting crosses from out wide that have been such a rich source of goals for City – and get on the scoresheet himself – he was at ease and confident in such great company.

Palmer wore a smug smile of a job well done and justifiably so as City’s players completed a lap of honour and the playing surface at Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis was covered with the golden ticker tape of joy.


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