England boss Gareth Southgate has named his 26-man England squad for EURO 2020, and there were some huge surprises from the Three Lions boss.
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Southgate has trusted in England’s young stars over experience, but his final cut from 33 to 26 players caused him a lot of headaches.
And he went for right backs galore.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Bukayo Saka made it, initially, but Alexander-Arnold was then injured in a friendly against Austria and replaced by Ben White. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson has also pulled out with injury, so Aaron Ramsdale has replaced him.
Jesse Lingard and James Ward-Prowse are among the seven players cut from the squad, while Mason Greenwood pulled out with injury.
With plenty of England players involved in the Europa League and Champions League finals over the last week, Southgate was forced to change his plans as he will name a final 26-man squad for the European Championships on June 1.
Southgate explained that he had to have difficult conversations with the seven players he cut.
“Yesterday afternoon when I had the conversations with those players, although they were disappointed, they understood,” Southgate said.
The five players to miss out after being named in the provisional 33-man squad are: Ben Godfrey (Everton), Jesse Lingard (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).
England have their three group games on home soil in Group D, as they face Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium.
The Three Lions are the joint-favorites to win EURO 2020 along with France, while Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Germany are among the other leading contenders.
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What do we make of Southgate’s big decisions?
England will be sweating on the fitness of Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips, as all three would be close to the starting lineup but are struggling with knocks.
In the case of Maguire and Henderson, they are captains of Manchester United and Liverpool and their experience will be huge in this squad.
But in terms of the right back situation, Southgate was going to cause headlines no matter who he picked. In the end he picked all four but Alexander-Arnold withdrawing through injury saw that plan changed again.
Kyle Walker starts for champions of England Manchester City, Kieran Trippier for the La Liga champions Atletico Madrid and he also has Champions League winner Reece James and Alexander-Arnold. And we’ve not even mentioned Aaron Wan-Bissaka…
As for Lingard and Ward-Prowse, both can consider themselves very unlucky to not make the squad as Borussia Dortmund youngsters Bellingham and Sancho were selected ahead of them.
Below is the provisional England squad in full.
England squad EURO 2020
Goalkeepers: Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton),
Defenders: Ben White (Brighton), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City, Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham)
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Man City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Man City)