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Crystal Palace defender looks ahead to Euro 2024 after making final cut


Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi has revealed his pride at being called up to represent England at the European Championship, which gets underway next week in Germany.

After picking up an injury away at Brighton in early February, the defender finally returned to first team action in early May, coming on as a late substitute in the 4-0 home win against Manchester United.

A few weeks later he was named in England manager Gareth Southgate’s initial training squad of 33, starting both final friendlies for the national side, a 3-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina at Newcastle on Monday, and a 1-0 loss against Iceland at Wembley on Friday night.

In between those games, Guehi was named in the final cut of 26 players for the tournament in Germany and could not be happier.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m really grateful, really blessed,” said Guehi about his inclusion in the squad.

Against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guéhi played 62 minutes alongside Brighton defender Lewis Dunk in a back four, while against Iceland the 23-year-old played all 90 minutes, first alongside John Stones, who was then replaced by Ezri Konsa, again in a back four.

Despite a different defensive formation with England to the block of three central defenders and two attacking full-backs played by Oliver Glasner at Palace, Guéhi is not concerned about the adaptions he will have to make going forward into tournament football next week.

“For me, it’s just more learning,” he said. “Learning off of these guys (defenders). These guys are top players, experienced players, so I’m trying to find my way, I guess – just learning off of them as much as possible is how I improve.

“It’s been good. When you’re playing with top players, they make it easy for you,” added the former Chelsea player, who is set to start for England in Germany after defensive stalwart Harry Maguire was not included in Southgate’s squad due to a long-term injury. “I’m just enjoying every moment to be honest.

Along with Guehi, three other Palace teammates are in the squad, with Ebere Eze, Adam Wharton and Dean Henderson all named – the most-ever Eagles in an England squad in history.

And with former Palace loanee Conor Gallagher also in the squad – a player with whom Guehi rose up both the Chelsea academy and England younger age category ranks – it has been a comfortable period for the defender.

“The mood is fantastic,” said Guehi about the current England camp. “Seeing Conor, a good friend of mine…everyone’s just really excited and with us four Palace lads in, it’s even better, so the mood’s really good.”

England face Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia in the European Championship Group Stage, and Guéhi is well aware of the challenge they pose if he and his fellow players want to progress to the knockout stages and come close to repeating a final appearance, just as they did at home last time out, in 2020.

“Every game is tough and we just need to be ready,” he said. “We need to make sure that we suffer together [but] enjoy the moment. Obviously, we’ve got a lot responsibility and pressure so [we] just take that, enjoy it and do the best that we can.”

And in that Denmark game, Guehi is likely to come face-to-face with his teammate and fellow centre-back, Joachim Andersen.

“I’m not going to say too much,” said a smiling Guehi about the potential match-up. “We’ll come to that when that comes. We’ll see each other soon, that’s all I’m going to say.”

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