Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker have all been included in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man England squad for the upcoming European Championships.
Mason Greenwood, Ben Godfrey, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Ramsdale, James Ward-Prowse, Ollie Watkins, Ben White have all missed out on the final list having originally made the 33-man provisional squad named by Southgate last week.
An underlying problem saw Greenwood ruled out of the Euros earlier on Tuesday, while despite injury concerns for Jordan Henderson, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips, the trio have all made the final squad.
“Mason Greenwood unfortunately had to pull out on Friday so we knew he wasn’t a contender for the last few games,” Southgate said after the announcement.
“The most complex part this time has been those injuries, whether we should take the chance on people
“In Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire we’ve got a couple of players who are not where they’d be ideally in terms of their physical preparation, but we think the experience they have and the fact we think we can get them to a point where they can have an involvement in the tournament, it’s worth taking them. Especially as we’ve got an extended squad of 26.”
The inclusion of four right-backs in the provisional 33-man squad last week had led to seven days of speculation regarding which player or players might miss out.
Southgate had highlighted the quartet’s versatility last week when stating “I see good footballers”, suggesting Alexander-Arnold could play in midfield, with James, Trippier and Walker capable of playing in various defensive roles.
As a result, all four players have made the final list which features 10 defenders and just five midfielders, including 17-year-old Jude Bellingham.
Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish are among the eight forwards in the squad, with the latter set to wear the No.7 shirt at the tournament.
England play Austria in a warm-up fixture on Wednesday at the Riverside, and then host Romania at Middlesbrough’s stadium on Sunday – a week before their Euros campaign begins against Croatia at Wembley on June 13.
Scotland will be England’s second Group D opponents on June 18, followed by Czech Republic on June 22. The winner of the group will face the runners-up from Group F, which features France, Germany, Hungary and Portugal.
Lingard to start vs Austria after ‘difficult’ call
Southgate said it was “difficult” to tell Lingard he was left out after the Manchester United midfielder enjoyed a successful loan spell at West Ham, adding the 28-year-old is likely to start against Austria.
Watkins and Ward-Prowse were also given the option to go home, but Southgate praised the trio’s commitment when stating they will all play a part in the warm-up fixtures this week.
Southgate said: “For me personally, it was very difficult to speak to Jesse, who has given so much to England, has performed so well for England over a long period of time, James Ward-Prowse who has been captain of the Under-21s and then Ollie Watkins, who had a tremendous season with Aston Villa.
“Those three, I gave them the option of going home if they wanted to but they were all adamant they would want to stay and be a part of the group.
“They know that they will be involved in these two matches. I think Jesse will probably start tomorrow.
“Their commitment has been exemplary and their professionalism has been brilliant and meant that yesterday afternoon when I had the conversations with those players, although they were disappointed they knew where they stood and it has meant the atmosphere around the camp has stayed positive and very relaxed.”
‘No tourists in England squad’
Southgate added: “We’re not taking any tourists here. We’ve got a squad, all of whom are ready to play and contribute. That’s really important because over the next nine matches we hope to be involved in, we’re going to need everybody.
“The most difficult thing is that when we get to the first game we can only pick a squad of 23 on matchday, it’s hard enough to pick 11. Potentially we could be disappointing people on those matchdays, although we might not have everybody available.
“The pros are that we’ve been able to take a chance on players that we may have had to rule out. We have been able to cover ourselves in different positions, different tactical formations. [With] the professionalism of the group and the respect the group have for each other, I don’t think the 26 is as big an issue as it might have been.”
England’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020:
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton).
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 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).