Academy product leaves superstar in shade with goal and man-of-the-match performance as City beat Sevilla on penalties

It is now two goals, two vital goals, in two ‘cup finals’ already this season for Cole Palmer and if Manchester City are all about having players with an ability to cope on the big occasion then here is a star in the making.

The 21-year-old rescued City just as it appeared they might let the Uefa Super Cup, a prize they desperately coveted, slip from their grasp.

Remarkably though Pep Guardiola claimed afterwards that Palmer, who West Ham United have tried to take on loan, might leave this summer permanently instead. “I don’t think a loan is going to happen,” the City manager confirmed before adding: “Going to stay, going to sell, but loan will not happen.”

That raised a few eyebrows and it would surely take a huge fee. Maybe it is a way of trying to force West Ham to negotiate on City’s prime target, Lucas Paqueta? Maybe it was Guardiola being mischievous or maybe, more probably, he was just laying down the law as he claimed Palmer had “wanted to leave”, presumably on loan.

Palmer was off the pitch, substituted, when the penalty shoot-out took place after the contest finished 1-1, but was rightly named man-of-the-match.

He scored after coming on in the season’s opener, the Community Shield against Arsenal, and although that shoot-out ended in defeat this time a relieved City triumphed.

If this was supposed to be a game for Phil Foden, afforded the role as the Kevin De Bruyne replacement, then the 23-year-old was outshone by another of the club’s academy products.

Palmer also has huge confidence. He revealed that he actually shouted at Erling Haaland, of all people, to get out of the way and allow him to reach Rodri’s cross that drew City level just as this contest was slipping away.

“I think I just said my name,” Palmer revealed. “He’s gone to head it and ducked and I was just there to finish it.”

Imagine that. Imagine if he had missed. Instead Palmer calmly steered a header back across the Sevilla goalkeeper Bounou and into the net with Haaland carefully watching it all the way.

City will need to replace De Bruyne, who has been ruled out for up to four months, but they appear to have their replacement for Riyad Mahrez, who took a move to the Saudi Pro-League. If Palmer stays.

He even has Mahrez’s ability to chop back sharply and leave defenders on the turf – it was a tough night for Sevilla’s usually uncompromising left-back Marcos Acuna who was sat-down three times – and there was an endorsement from the departed Algerian winger who tweeted “Cole” with two clapping emojis.

Mahrez also cheekily added: “Congrats guys on making even more history (is it a bit my trophy too?)”

Make no mistake City wanted this. As Guardiola led their lap of honour his face betrayed his relief as much as his elation. It would have hurt to lose two trophies, both to shoot-outs, in City’s opening three games especially as they have never won this one before.

But they are going for everything, the Club World Cup is another big target in Saudi Arabia in December, as they made their history in becoming the sixth English club to win this trophy, the most by any country.

Palmer appears modest also. As he and the other players walked behind Guardiola he was pushed not once but twice by goalkeeper Ederson who forced him to raise the silverware in front of the City fans. Palmer looked sheepish as he grinned with his medal around his neck.

Cole Palmer shows off the Uefa Super Cup

Cole Palmer shows off the Uefa Super Cup Credit: Getty Images/Alex Caparros

It is almost three years since he made his first-team debut and, again, rather like Foden he has had to bide his time such is the standard at City.

For all of their spending they do want to promote their homegrown talent – and if they sell, it is for high prices – and it has been quite some summer for Palmer, Wythenshawe-born who joined the club as an under-eight, and who was a key part of the England’s victory in the Under-21 European Championships.

“The guy is incredible,” said City captain Kyle Walker who was one of the scorers, albeit a little fortunately, in the shoot-out as they converted all five of their penalties. City won after Sevilla defender Nemanja Gudelj crashed the decisive kick against the cross-bar.

Palmer lined up, in fact, as one of three English players behind Haaland with Foden in the middle, where he was crowded out and struggled to make an impact, and Jack Grealish on the left. Grealish came in for some rough treatment and so there was more freedom for Palmer who Guardiola said “showed character”.

“That’s what you have to do as a young lad,” Grealish enthused. “I was in that position at [Aston] Villa. You have to perform when given the chance.”

In saying all that, and despite City’s clear dominance of possession, Sevilla had the best chances. Striker Youssef En-Nesyri scored with a powerful header, in a moment £77 million signing Josko Gvardiol will want to forget on his full debut, and should have had a hat-trick for the Europa League winners even if they were playing for penalties at the end.