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Adam Wharton says rapid rise from Blackburn to England Euro 2024 squad ‘surreal’

England’s Adam Wharton during a press conference (Adam Davy/PA)
England’s Adam Wharton during a press conference (Adam Davy/PA)

Adam Wharton is struggling to compute his “surreal” ascent from Blackburn debutant to England’s Euro 2024 squad over the last 22 months.

The 20-year-old midfielder is the second youngest player in Gareth Southgate’s squad in Germany and has the least amount of top-level experience under his belt.

Wharton swapped boyhood club Blackburn and life in the Championship for Premier League outfit Crystal Palace earlier this year, hitting the ground running in south London.

The midfielder was rewarded with a first England call-up for June’s training squad and did enough to earn a place in Southgate’s 26-man squad for the Euros.

“It is a surreal feeling,” Wharton said. “Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting it.

“I’ve only just got into the Premier League, so I wasn’t really expecting anything. I am absolutely delighted. I get to do what I love on the top stage, you can’t beat it.”

Wharton only made his England Under-21s bow in March and went on to make his senior debut off the bench in this month’s warm-up friendly against Bosnia at St James’ Park.

Asked how he sums up his 22-month rise from his Rovers debut in the Carabao Cup first round against Hartlepool to being with Southgate’s side in Germany, he said: “It is hard to. It is just a dream come true.

“Every kid that grows up playing football wants to play in the Premier League and for their country.

“I got to play for the team I supported to begin with and really enjoyed that.

“It has continued since moving to the Premier League and now I’m here, so yeah, it has all been very fast but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Wharton made his England debut against Bosnia (Mike Egerton/PA)
Wharton made his England debut against Bosnia (Mike Egerton/PA)

Wharton is trying his hardest to progress and kick on from a positive England debut, where he completed all 36 of his passes in a promising performance.

The midfielder looked similarly confident in front of the media as he did the first press conference at England’s Blankenhain Castle base.

Wharton expressed his gratitude for his family’s support but did not appear over the moon when it was put to him that dad, John, suggested he was “a bit of a loner”.

“I have got two brothers that I grew up with, both older, and playing with them in the garden,” said the Palace midfielder, who played alongside one of his siblings, Scott, at Rovers.

“Obviously they probably beat me up a few times in the garden, but that all helps you get used to the physical side of the game.

“My dad is a massive football fan and gives me loads of advice, even still now.

“They have continued to support me even when I hadn’t been playing in the youth setup, I wouldn’t be here without them.”

When Wharton was told about his father’s comments, he said: “I think loner is a bit harsh.

“I don’t have a million friends, I keep myself to myself and that is how I have always been.

“That works for me. I live on my own in London, so yeah, I’m not always out with my friends doing this and that.

“Part of being a footballer means you can’t go out on the weekends when you are growing up and they are the sacrifices you have to make.

“I’m not a loner, but I’m not the most outgoing person you are every going to meet. I won’t walk into a room full of people I don’t know and be very loud. I just keep myself to myself.”