Cole Palmer reveals the TV show occupying the England team as they play in Euros 2024

Declan Rice and Cole Palmer on the football pitch with a compo photo of Love Island star Nicole Samuels
Provider: SHutterstock; ITV

England has just secured their spot in the Euros 2024 semi-finals, but it seems the players are attracting attention for another reason, their TV habits.

Taking to Instagram on Saturday night, the Three Lions players Declan Rice, 25, and Cole Palmer, 22, unexpectedly revealed they are secret fans of the popular ITV2 show Love Island.

The dating show, which is currently in its 11th season, sees a group of new islanders each season take part in a series of challenges, partner swapping along the way until they find their perfect match.

With millions of loyal fans, the show is a beloved part of pop culture, and now it seems it’s even earned the attention of the nation’s biggest footballers.

Just hours after England cemented their spot in the semi-finals after beating Switzerland in the penalty shootout in Dusseldorf, Declan shared a photo of himself, Jude Bellingham and Ivan Toney cheering on the pitch, with the caption, ‘Togetherness. Semis we coming!!!’ But it was the comment section that turned heads.

Alongside the hundreds of congratulation messages, there was one from Cole reading, ‘WHOS EMMAAAAAAAAA’, prompting Declan to mimic his reply along with two laughing emojis.

Declan Rice and Cole Palmer referencing Love Island after winning match between England and Switzerland
Declan and Cole were caught referencing Love Island after winning match between England and Switzerland (Picture: Instagram)
Declan Rice throws his hands up while on the football pitch after a game
Declan appears to be a fan of Love Island (Picture: Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Cole Palmer runs around on the football pitch during a game
Cole and Declan appear to be watching Love Island in between their training sessions for the Euros 2024 (Picture: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock)

While the comment may appear cryptic to some, fans of the popular TV show instantly caught onto the meaning behind the saying, which refers to an indirect moment between Love Island star Nicole Samuels and Ciaran Davies that went viral this week.

The show is currently in its Casa Amor section of the contest in which the girl and boy islanders split into groups, with one staying in the main villa and the others moving to Casa Amor, where they mingle with a new group of islanders testing any current relationships.

Despite being separated, the two villas engage in text-based competitions, the most recent of which was a round of dares.

Love Island star Nicole Samuels asking Who's Emma?
Nicole went viral after she became upset about Emma winning a lot of challenges in Casa Amor (Picture: ITV)
Love Island star Nicole Samuels asking Who's Emma?
Nicole was not happy while the dares were being carried out (Picture: ITV)

One of the dares listed in this week’s game was ‘The youngest boy must snog the girl he fancies the most for five seconds’, which prompted Ciaran, who is coupled up with Nicole, to pash an islander in Casa Amor.

He chose newcomer Emma Milton.

Emma was then picked for a few more dares throughout the challenge, with her wins being repeated back to the main villa, causing Nicole to shout, ‘Who’s Emma?’ over and over again.

Emma Milton poses in a bikini for a Love Island photo shoot
In case you were wondering who Emma is, this is Emma (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)

One moment of her shouting, ‘Who’s Emma?’ proved quite entertaining to fans, who quickly uploaded the video to the social media app TikTok, where it went viral.

The video has earned over 50,000 likes and 500,000 views, with Declan and Cole clearly making up two of them. It seems they aren’t the only England players to enjoy a bit of Love Island.

During the Euros in 2020, Jack Grealish shared an image to his social media accounts showing the team watching along on a cinema-sized screen at their accommodation.

Love Island has been running since 2015. However, it only started making headway in terms of viewership in 2017.

Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury share a kiss on the couch with their daughter Bambi sitting between them
Molly-Mae and Tommy Fury have become household names since competing in the series (Picture: Instagram / @mollymae)

By 2019, the show reached a record with more than six million people watching with the final becoming the most watched in the show’s history.

In recent years, views have been dropping and in 2023, the series premiere saw 1.3 million tune in.

Despite the drop in numbers, many contestants who take part in the show, including Molly-Mae Hague, Tommy Fury, Amber Gill and Maura Higgins, have gone on to become household names.

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