New Chelsea star Cole Palmer has opened up about the torments of his move from boyhood club Manchester City.
Palmer, 21, left City for £43 million at the end of the transfer window after being at the club since the age of six.
His brilliant form early in the season culminated in the midfielder scoring his team’s equalizer from the penalty spot as Chelsea drew 4-4 with City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. This also earned him a first call-up for Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Speaking at an English media day yesterday, Palmer was asked how difficult it was to make the move to the Blues and said: ‘It was a big step for me.
‘I’ve never been out of Manchester, not even on loan or anything like that. So it was a big thing to move there on my own.
Cole Palmer has become one of the best young players in the Premier League
The 21-year-old left Manchester City in the summer to sign for Chelsea on a £43million contract
Palmer earned his first senior England call-up this week, with Gareth Southgate included in the squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers, replacing James Maddison
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‘When I first went there it was difficult, I stayed in a hotel, but now I’m more comfortable and enjoying it. It happened quickly to be honest. I spoke to someone at Chelsea and I spoke to my father, but I really didn’t know what to do.
‘I thought about it for a few days, every minute of the day, and then I thought that for my career I should get regular playing time.
“The competition that is there at City, the players that were there, the players that they were going to try to sign. It would be difficult.’
Asked yesterday to compare City manager Pep Guardiola and Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino, Palmer was diplomatic.
“Next question,” he said.
But he added: ‘You obviously know how good a manager Pep is and he gave me the opportunity and the platform to kick-start my career so I will always be grateful to him.
‘Who knows what would have happened if I had stayed?
‘Maybe I would have played more, maybe not. But I think the decision to go to Chelsea has paid off so far.”
The 21-year-old cut a relaxed figure as he faced the media at St George’s Park on Tuesday
Palmer has been reunited with former City teammate Phil Foden in the England camp
Palmer remained calm in the heat of all the late frenzy at Stamford Bridge, beating his former teammate Ederson from the penalty spot.
He has now scored important penalties against Arsenal, Spurs and City for his new club and after his latest goal he only celebrated with a shrug of the shoulders.
“I worked at the club for fifteen years,” he says.
‘I can’t really celebrate how I would normally celebrate if I had scored the equalizer in the 95th minute because that would have been disrespectful.
“So I just decided to shrug it off. I do not know why.
‘When I saw the referee give it, I thought: “It’s my time”. I talked to Raz (Raheem Sterling) and he said, ‘What’s happening?’ and I thought, “I want to take it.” He said, ‘Good’ and when I put the ball down, I just picked a spot and tried to put it there.
“I felt like I was waiting a while to take it.” So I did think about my old club and stuff, but not really after that.
Palmer spent 15 years at Manchester City but felt it was time to leave in the summer
The Manchester-born striker scored for City in the UEFA Super Cup final in August
Palmer helped City lift the trophy but left for Chelsea less than a month later
‘It was a crazy match. Previously I was a bit nervous and it felt a bit strange to see everyone from my own club.
‘I had been there for fifteen years. But when the game started it felt normal and it was a good game.”
Chelsea manager Pochettino has a good track record when it comes to bringing in talented young players. Internationals such as Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Eric Dier and Dele Alli have all graduated from Pochettino’s Tottenham squad to play for England.
“Yes, a lot of people told me how he treats young players and since I went to Chelsea I can see it,” Palmer said.
‘I enjoy working with him and I look forward to continuing to work with him.
“He’s given me the confidence and license to go where I want on the field, where I feel like I can use my strengths, so I’m grateful for that.”
Palmer’s father is a former footballer and played a big role in his early development.
Palmer revealed he asked Raheem Sterling to take the penalty against City on Sunday
The youngster made no mistake from the spot as Chelsea drew 4-4 against City
But he felt his loyalty to City meant they could not celebrate the late equalizer
“Without my father I probably wouldn’t be a footballer,” he added;
“He spent countless hours with me every night and worked with me to make me a professional football player. And yes, I try to pay him back as much as possible.
‘I got the message straight after the match about my England call-up. My phone went crazy because I have City fans who are my friends and I have family and stuff.
“But then I read it and read it again. It was confirmed. I immediately called my dad and he was with my mom, so I told them. They were buzzing.”