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Adam Wharton: Could Crystal Palace midfielder get shock England Euro 2024 call-up?

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Crystal Palace are celebrating their first league double over Manchester United, with Michael Olise rightly taking a lot of the praise after his two goals helped the Eagles to a 4-0 win.

But there is another player that many are speaking about after the game – Adam Wharton.

The 20-year-old signed for Palace from Championship side Blackburn for £18m, with add-ons taking it to £22m, on 1 February this year.

The transfer deadline day recruit had a difficult first game for Palace. Introduced as a substitute against rivals Brighton, the ball was taken from him and in that move the Seagulls took a 3-0 lead, in a match that ended 4-1.

However, since that game, Wharton has gone from strength to strength and started the past 13 matches, picking up two assists and becoming a key part in Oliver Glasner’s newly implemented 3-4-3 formation.

He made his debut for the England Under-21 side in March after initially being called up to the England Under-20s and now talk has moved to whether Wharton could be making a late charge for Gareth Southgate’s senior squad for the Euros in Germany.

Wharton was excellent in the win over United. He was was up against midfielder Kobbie Mainoo who made his senior Three Lions debut in March – creating one of the spaces that allowed Wharton to move into the Under-21s.

Southgate was at Selhurst Park on Monday, which has got some speculating about a shock Euro 2024 call-up when the 26-man squad is announced on 21 May.

“He’s stepped up so quick and is adapting to Premier League football and the intensity, the speed of the game,” Glasner said before the Manchester United match.

“His decision-making, his pre-orientation, his solutions with one or two touches are amazing.

“But also we have to stay calm. I always wish the best for my players and the more successful, the more international games, the better it is because everybody wants to play for his home country.

“I don’t know if it’s the right moment for talking about the [senior England squad for the] Euros, but he will have a fantastic career because, again, he’s a very good guy and an extraordinary football player.”

Asked about England senior speculation after the United game, Wharton said it “is not at the front of my mind”.

He added: “If I get the call-up, wow, fantastic. If not, [I’ll be] recovering somewhere and then get ready to go again.

“I’m never really satisfied with my performances. Even if I have a good game, I always remember the things I could have done better. That’s just how I’ve always looked at games.

“You’re never perfect and I want to try to be perfect but I’m still only young [and] got a lot to work on.”

Wharton is already catching the eye of other Premier League teams and there is even a feeling from those inside the club that he could prove to be the best signing Palace have made from the Championship.

That is some praise, considering the minimum £60m price tags currently on Eberechi Eze and Olise, who both made that same journey from the second tier to Palace.

Central midfielder Wharton’s eye for a pass is excellent and it is thought that his positive forward passing is allowing both Olise and Eze to excel as they are able to get on the ball quicker and in dangerous areas.

On Eze and Olise, Wharton said: “It’s a joy to watch, even when you’re on the pitch. It’s unbelievable to play with players like that, players that can produce magic moments.

“I just try to get them on the ball as much as possible and let them do their thing. It makes my life a lot easier, definitely. I just try and keep it simple, win the ball back.”

Palace have now gone five games unbeaten, with thoughts moving to next season. The Eagles will have interest from clubs for Eze and Olise in the summer, and they may have to fend off bids for Wharton sooner than they had hoped.

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