Cole Palmer called up to England as Rio Ferdinand says ‘free Raheem Sterling’

Cole Palmer will get the chance to take his club form to the international stage after his team-mate Raheem Sterling was snubbed again.

The Chelsea ace was yesterday called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad along with Manchester City midfielder Rico Lewis and Aston Villa defender Ezri Konsa.

The trio are brought into the senior squad with Palmer and Lewis called up from Lee Carsley’s U21s. They were in to replace the injured James Maddison, Callum Wilson and Lewis Dunk who have withdrawn ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.

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But Chelsea star Sterling was ignored by Three Lions boss Southgate which has left former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand suggesting there’s an issue.

“Free my guy, free Raheem Sterling,” he told his podcast Vibe with Five.

“I don’t know what he’s done, whose nose he’s put out of joint. Was it him coming back from the tournament or something like that?

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“I don’t know what’s happened but for him not to be in the England squad is beyond me.

“I know there’s a lot of talent but if we’re talking form then he’s got more assists and goal involvements than [Marcus] Rashford and Grealish together.

“Or if you want to go: ‘has he been tried and tested at the top level?’

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“He was England’s best player at the Euros. That was a couple of years ago but Kalvin Phillips is playing on the back of a good Euros. Maguire is playing on the back of that.

“So if they’re playing because of that, what’s happened to Sterling? Free him up!”

Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham is also expected to withdraw through injury.

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