Conor Gallagher discusses his first appearance at a major international tournament and explains why it was made even sweeter by coming on alongside one of his oldest friends from the Chelsea Academy.

On England’s last appearance at a major tournament, the 2022 World Cup, Conor Gallagher travelled to Qatar but did not feature from the bench.

This time around, in Germany for Euro 2024, Gallagher seems set to play a more active role, having come off the bench to help the Three Lions to see out a 1-0 win over Serbia in their opening match.

‘Obviously it was a difficult time to come into the game as we were under the cosh a little bit,’ Gallagher reflected from inside England’s 'Diary Room.

‘The manager just told me to go on and show a bit of energy, be disciplined and do my best defensively to get a bit of control on the ball. I think I did a good job when I came on and helped the team to win the game.’

He made that tournament debut among some familiar faces. Chelsea team-mates Cole Palmer and Djordje Petrovic were on the respective benches, while alongside him on the pitch for the Three Lions was Marc Guehi.

Gallagher and the centre-back came through the youth ranks at Chelsea together before playing side-by-side on loan in the Championship at Swansea City. Even after Guehi departed Stamford Bridge permanently, he was joined by Conor during another loan, this time at Crystal Palace.

‘Me and Marc go right back, we both joined the Chelsea Academy right at the start, so we would have been seven or eight years old.

‘We played with England together growing up, we went to Swansea together, Crystal Palace... Pretty much anywhere I’ve gone, he’s kind of been following me.

'He’s a great friend of mine and he’s a top player as well.’

The former Blues team-mates have now been keeping each other company at England’s Euro 2024 training base near Weimar, where they have also found an outlet for their competitive instincts.

‘In the down time there’s a lot of stuff to do around here. You’ve got basketball, table tennis, darts, Mario Kart,' added Conor.

‘I’ve been spending a lot of time with Marc having competitions day-to-day. Whoever wins the most competitions in a day wins that day and gets a point. Right now it’s 3-2 to me.

‘To be fair we only had one game of Mario Kart and Marc beat me. My excuse is he’s got younger sisters so he’s had to play with them as they were growing up.

‘We play table tennis a lot because it’s a lot easier and it’s just downstairs and I think I’ve got the better of him at that right now. There’s many days left for Marc to come back, but we’ll see.’

Whatever the outcome of that duel, Gallagher will be hoping they can both be winners this summer, come the Euro 2024 final in Berlin on 14 July, before resuming hostilities with Chelsea and Palace in next season’s Premier League.