Conor Gallagher scurries his way into England’s Euro 2024 midfield plans | Jonathan Liew

All elite international midfields need an engine though Kobbie Mainoo’s late debut did offer an alternative vision

And with a parp of the referee’s whistle, Conor Gallagher is away. England v Brazil is just seconds old, and already Gallagher is sprinting at full pelt, eating up the ground between him and João Gomes. Not in any real hope of winning the ball, which has gone long before he arrives. But just as a way of establishing his presence, showing intent. Planting the flag, as it were.

This, perhaps, is the defining motif of Gallagher in the mind’s eye: a midfielder whose dial is set permanently to hurricane, always busy, always keen to be seen as busy, whether ostentatiously playing a five-yard pass or tearing forward like a man chasing a runaway Mazda down a hill. He is one of English football’s great pointers: constantly barking orders, alerting teammates to open space and free runners. Coaches love Gallagher because he makes them feel a little less powerless.

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