All about Wharton - the Palace midfielder called up by England

Crystal Palace midfielder Adam Wharton

In January, Adam Wharton was playing in a Blackburn Rovers side struggling in the Championship.

Four months later and the 20-year-old is dreaming of playing at Euro 2024 after being included in Gareth Southgate's provisional 33-man England squad for the tournament in Germany.

Wharton signed for Crystal Palace from Blackburn for £18m, with add-ons taking it to £22m, on 1 February this year.

The transfer deadline day recruit had a difficult first game. Introduced as a substitute against Palace's rivals Brighton, the ball was taken from him in move that led to the Seagulls taking a 3-0 lead. The match ended 4-1.

However, since that game, Wharton has gone from strength to strength and started the past 15 matches, picking up three assists and becoming a key part in Oliver Glasner's new 3-4-3 formation.

He made his debut for the England Under-21 side in March after initially being called up to the England Under-20s and now he is in contention to go to Euro 2024.

'His decision-making is amazing'

Southgate was at Selhurst Park on 6 May to see Wharton impress in Palace's 4-0 win over Manchester United.

"He's stepped up so quick and is adapting to Premier League football and the intensity, the speed of the game," Palace boss Oliver Glasner said before that match.

"His decision-making, his pre-orientation, his solutions with one or two touches are amazing.

"But also we have to stay calm. I always wish the best for my players and the more successful, the more international games, the better it is because everybody wants to play for his home country."

Stuart Jones, head of Blackburn Rovers, academy, told BBC Radio 5 Live that Wharton is a "humble young man" who has "all the attributes to be a top, top player".

"In terms of his attributes, he was always an outstanding footballer, intelligence, his ability on the football," Jones said.

"His football intelligence and game understanding, he sees things that possibly other players don’t see and he’s always shown that from a young age."

From Blackburn mascot to Euros?

Wharton grew up supporting Blackburn and in 2008, at the age of four, he was a mascot for a match against Chelsea at Ewood Park before joining the club's academy two years later.

He only made his first team debut, playing alongside his older brother Scott, in the Carabao Cup victory over Hartlepool United in August 2022.

Wharton went on to make 51 appearances for Rovers in all competitions, scoring four goals and making five assists, before joining Palace.

His statistics since moving up to the Premier League have been impressive.

Wharton has created 21 chances - the same number as team-mates Daniel Munoz and Eberechi Eze. Only Munoz (4) has provided more assists for the club since Wharton (3) joined.

Wharton is also high up on Palace's list of tackles won (35) and duels won (79), with only Munoz above him in both categories.

Asked about England senior speculation after the United game, Wharton said it "is not at the front of my mind".

He added: "If I get the call-up, wow, fantastic. If not, [I'll be] recovering somewhere and then get ready to go again.

"I'm never really satisfied with my performances. Even if I have a good game, I always remember the things I could have done better. That's just how I've always looked at games.

"You're never perfect and I want to try to be perfect but I'm still only young [and] got a lot to work on."

'Classy player who will get even better'

Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton believes Wharton has a big future.

"Palace have a classy player in midfield in Wharton - I saw enough of him at my old club Blackburn to be impressed and I love the way he knits things together so effortlessly," said Sutton.

"Wharton is not the fastest but the first three yards are in his head and he just sees things quicker than most people.

"He can still improve some aspects of his game but he has only just turned 20 and looks like a shrewd piece of business by the Eagles."