In Focus: On-fire City to add extra Cole
Teenage sensation Cole Palmer is making quite an impact for Manchester City.
The 19-year-old attacking midfielder got on the scoresheet for the third time this season as the Citizens beat Swindon in the third round of the FA Cup last Friday — and his talent is becoming increasingly apparent for all to see.
But what does the future hold for Palmer? And should he be getting more minutes at the Etihad?
As Pep Guardiola’s side prepare for the visit of Chelsea this lunchtime, we shine a light on their rising star.
Palmer joined City’s youth ranks at Under-8s level and eventually went on to become captain of their Under-18s team.
His senior debut came in September 2020, when he played the full 90 minutes of a 3-0 Carabao Cup win at Burnley. He then enjoyed his first taste of Champions League football a month later, coming off the bench as City won by the same scoreline away to Marseille.
But Palmer has really begun to make a name for himself this term, featuring 11 times in all competitions and finding the net on three occasions.
He made his Premier League debut as a substitute in City’s 5-0 thumping of Norwich in August, and his first start in November’s 3-0 victory over Everton.
Taking his chances
The fact Guardiola handed Palmer his first league start just 12 games into the campaign — when the title was still looking like a close-run thing — is a mark of the faith and trust that he has in him.
Even though Palmer has barely played two hours of Premier League football in total, he has been included in the matchday squad for all bar three games so far this term.
And although his three senior goals to date have capped victories City already had in the bag, there can be no doubting his quality when it comes to finishing.
A stunning combination of power and placement, his strike against Swindon would not have looked out of place on any stage.
Guardiola is not one to rush youngsters, however prodigious they may be, so his comments from a few months ago probably still ring true.
Speaking after Palmer had scored his first Champions League goal during City’s 5-1 thrashing of Club Brugge in October, he said: "Cole has a special quality in front of the box, a talent that is difficult to find.
"When he has the ball there, most of the time, it ends up in the net.
"It's difficult to find that. I know how it works with young players. We have to be calm and patient.
"The people in this world want things immediately, quick, but everything needs time.
"You cannot cook a good dish if you don't spend time in the kitchen. So, take time."
It is hardly surprising that, as a young midfielder who puts fans on the edge of their seats whenever he touches the ball, Palmer has drawn comparisons with Phil Foden.
Foden is the most recent star to rise through the City ranks and establish himself in the first team — and it does not feel like a stretch to suggest that his younger team-mate will reach similar heights.
Palmer has already represented England up to Under-21s level, marking his debut against Kosovo in September with a fantastic solo effort. Senior caps might not be all that far away.
Palmer has already shown himself to be a versatile operator, but to call competition for places in the City's final third tough would be an almighty understatement.
Still, the reigning Premier League champions have 17 league games remaining this campaign — and will hope to play plenty more in the Champions League and FA Cup.
The greater the need for rotation, the more opportunities that might fall Palmer’s way.
And if recent evidence is anything to go by, he looks set to seize those opportunities with both hands.