Paul Parker backs Adam Wharton to shine at Euro 2024 if given opportunity

PA Ready, Adam Wharton, Paul Parker, Blackburn, Jordan Henderson, England, Luke Shaw, Premier League, Premier, Harry Maguire, Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Sky Bet Championship, Gareth Southgate, Germany, Paul Gascoigne, Euros, Italy, Fulham

Crystal Palace midfielder Adam Wharton has adapted quickly to life in the Premier League (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

Crystal Palace midfielder Adam Wharton has all the qualities needed to step out of the shadows and make his mark on Euro 2024 if given the opportunity by Gareth Southgate, according to former England full-back Paul Parker.

The 20-year-old joined the Eagles from Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn on transfer deadline day in February and has adapted quickly to life in the Premier League.

Wharton’s consistent performances saw him earn a first senior international call-up as part of Southgate’s initial 33-man squad, with experienced midfielder Jordan Henderson one of those to miss out.

Southgate admits it has been “an incredible rise” for young midfielder Wharton, who will be hoping to make the final cut as one of the 26 players on the plane to Germany in June.

Parker was part of the England squad which reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where Paul Gascoigne emerged as one of the stars of the tournament.

The 60-year-old – who had spells at Fulham, QPR and Manchester United – feels if given the chance to go to the Euros, then Wharton could seize his own moment to shine.

“There are always one or two players at least who step out from the shadows and make a mark on the tournament,” Parker told the PA news agency.

“Adam Wharton, the lad who has come from Blackburn Rovers, if he was to go to Germany, that would be a story.

“If he plays, everyone knows that lad is not going to let anyone down.

“I saw him play on quite a few occasions for Blackburn, and I thought ‘oh, he has got something about him’.

“Now, he has come into the top division with Palace and looks like he has been doing it for ages – he has killed the myth of players needing time to settle into the Premier League.”

Southgate also has a selection dilemma in defence, with a few players carrying fitness concerns – such as Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw, who has not played played since February because of a muscle injury.

Parker believes it is always something of a gamble choosing players who might or might not be 100 per cent ready when the tournament finally gets under way.

“We have named a provisional squad of 33, so I think Gareth Southgate has called in as many as possible and then will hope that things work themselves out,” said Parker, who is a long-time supporter of Prostate Cancer UK.

“But with tournament football being quite a tight schedule, the last thing you need is a player who has missed a lot of football and to bring them back into it, or to have them sitting there when needed but you don’t know if they potentially will be able to play properly – so you don’t take them.

“Luke Shaw is one of them where you shouldn’t take him. You bring someone along who you know is fit.

“So we are struggling, but who then does he (Southgate) go and name in the squad? (Ezri) Konsa did a good job on his debut against Brazil, he played really well at right-back.

“You can also look at the centre of defence – (Marc) Guehi has been out for a while, but he has come back and he will be okay, then you have Harry Maguire, who hasn’t played now for several weeks, but says he should be fit for the Euros.”

:: Paul Parker is getting behind Prostate Cancer UK’s ‘Find it Earlier’ campaign as the charity declares it is about time you checked your risk. Take Prostate Cancer UK’s 30 second online risk checker now at www.prostatecanceruk.org/risk

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