CRAIG HOPE: It’s advantage Cole Palmer in the race for an England spot as Anthony Gordon’s injury leaves his Euro 2024 dream hanging by a thread – while the Chelsea star steals the show in front of Gareth Southgate

Anthony Gordon suffered a knee injury at Stamford Bridge on Monday night
Cole Palmer scored in Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Newcastle
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They lined up in direct opposition – right wing versus left wing – and that’s how it is likely to be for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this summer. But on the night of their international audition in front of the Three Lions boss, it was advantage Cole Palmer over Anthony Gordon.

It could not have gone any worse for the latter, injured inside the first five minutes before soldiering on for half an hour. Clearly, though, Gordon had been robbed of his weaponry.

His body language betrayed his hurt – physical and mental, you suspect – and it was no surprise when he finally signalled that he could not continue in the 36th minute.

He left rubbing his knee and, equally, scratching his head, for he had not missed a single game because of injury in over a year.

Eddie Howe fears the problem could be serious and, while Gordon’s Euro 2024 dream is not over just yet, there will be dreamless nights of little sleep while he awaits the results of a scan on his left knee.

Anthony Gordon suffered a knee injury in Newcastle’s 3-1 loss against Chelsea on Monday

The Magpies winger was withdrawn in the first half at Stamford Bridge
What a blow that is for a player who looked almost certain to be given his first senior call-up this week. He would have deserved that, after a campaign of 10 goals and five assists.

More so, as he told Mail Sport at the weekend, ‘availability is the best ability’. How cruel that one of his greatest strengths, durability, has proved his weakness in this most decisive of weeks.

Palmer, by contrast, was the game’s most impactful player during a 3-2 win for his side, taking his Premier League goal contributions to 19 for the season. He had his eighth assist when his shot was turned in by Nicolas Jackson in the fifth minute.

The irony is that would not have happened had Gordon not already been wounded. He could not track the forward run of Malo Gusto and it was from the defender’s cross that the goal was eventually scored.

Palmer had shown composure all night – not all his team-mates could say the same – and it was no surprise when Chelsea’s second goal arrived via his left boot.

It was, to that point, the one true moment of quality from anyone in blue, a 20-yard drill into the bottom corner after finding space surrounded by four Newcastle jerseys.

An 11th goal of the season reinforces the notion of the 21-year-old being Chelsea’s best summer signing by some distance.

Cole Palmer scored Chelsea’s third goal after setting up the Blues’ opener

Palmer is expected to be ahead of Gordon (left) in Gareth Southgate’s pecking order
At £40m, he is looking like a rarity for the Blues – a shrewd acquisition. Gordon, at the same price, has been that for Newcastle, and a day will come when he and Palmer are international team-mates.

For now, though, it looks like Palmer is the favourite to take his place in Germany come June.

His goal was a moment of inspiration, and upon such moments are big matches at major tournaments often won.

This felt like Palmer booking a seat on the plane. For Gordon, sadly, a seat in the treatment room awaits.