Euro 2024: Rashford out of England squad; Eze, Mainoo in

England manager Gareth Southgate named his provisional 33-man squad for Euro 2024 with call-ups for Eberechi Eze, Marc Guehi and Kobbie Mainoo, but there was no place for Marcus Rashford or Jordan Henderson.

Southgate included five uncapped players in total — Liverpool’s Curtis Jones and Jarell Quansah, Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite, Crystal Palace midfielder Adam Wharton and Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford — as part of an expanded group strong in attacking talent.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon and Ollie Watkins were rewarded for fine seasons with Chelsea, Newcastle and Aston Villa, respectively, while Brentford forward Ivan Toney was also included despite returning in January from an eight-month suspension for breaching Football Association betting rules.

Jack Grealish was selected despite starting just 10 league games in Manchester City’s title-winning campaign, while Mainoo’s dramatic elevation continues having only made his full league debut for Manchester United against Everton in November.

Mainoo’s United teammate Luke Shaw has been included despite being sidelined since February with a muscle injury.

UEFA’s deadline for final squad submissions is midnight on June 7, when Southgate will have to select 26 players from Thursday’s list to take to Germany.

The expanded number Southgate announced at St. George’s Park on Thursday is indicative of a variety of fitness concerns which the 53-year-old admitted was unprecedented during his eight years as England boss.

“We’ve never had so many unknown situations,” Southgate told a news conference. “We’ve had tournaments where we’ve taken players where we know they will be back for a certain moment of the tournament. We’ve had tournament where we’ve had two English teams in the Champions League final and not had players for the games. They are different problems, but we are used to dealing with it.

“There are a significant number, that will be apparent to you looking at the players who have missed the last few games of the season and the players who are only just back for the last few games of the season.

“We’ve got an important physical challenge in that some players are going to need a bit more work, but we’ve got to make sure we push at the right times, get them the minutes they need in the games. Other players don’t need much at all and need refreshing.

“Everybody has a chance [of making the final 26]. There are definitely some players that we wanted to see. The reason for the longer squad, we were in a similar situation before the last Euros, and more time is going to help us make better decisions and might help us give a better balance of squad.”

Gordon, captain Harry Kane and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen all missed their final club matches through injury, and James Maddison, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Guehi have only recently returned from lengthy absences.

Bayern Munich striker Kane missed his side’s final two Bundesliga games with back issues he has been dealing with since before their Champions League semifinal loss to Real Madrid a fortnight ago.

“Kane is pretty much clear now,” Southgate said. “He is quite relaxed about it. I think a sensible decision was taken not to push for the last game there.

“Back problems can just happen, but it is not something we are concerned about at this moment in time. Our understanding of it is that it is something that is pretty much clear now.”

However, Southgate admitted that Shaw’s prospects of proving his fitness in time for the Euros were small.

“I have to say, he’s up against it,” Southgate said. “He has missed a lot of football. The fact he has been our first choice in that position [means] we are probably giving him a bit longer than we might have done.

“I’m not sure what’s realistic at this moment in time. I’ve talked with him, our medical team are liaising with Manchester United very closely, but I’d have to say he’s a long shot.”

Rashford, 26, is the highest-profile omission, having been a squad member at England’s past four tournaments dating back to Euro 2016.

He missed a penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final shootout defeat to Italy at Wembley and was a substitute when Southgate’s side were knocked out of the 2022 Qatar World Cup by France at the quarterfinal stage.

However, he has scored just seven goals in 33 league appearances this season as United posted their worst finish (eighth place) in the Premier League.

“With Marcus I just feel other players in that area of the pitch have had better seasons, it’s as simple as that,” Southgate said, while Rashford wished the squad luck in a post on Instagram.

Southgate was heavily criticised for continuing to select Henderson after the midfielder left Liverpool last summer to join Al Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia, a country whose human rights record has been widely condemned.

Henderson joined Ajax in January, in part in a bid to keep alive his chances of staying part of Southgate’s squad, but he has been left out along with Kalvin Phillips, who joined West Ham on loan from City in January with the same aim.

“Hendo has given himself every chance,” he said. “The determining factor has been the injury he picked up around the last camp. He missed five weeks and just hasn’t been able to get to the intensity in the games since then.

“He’s a fantastic professional. That was a really difficult call to make because he’s been so important, so supportive in my time here and I have to say all the boys I’ve spoken to — Ben [White], Marcus, Jordan, the three who were with us last time — they were incredibly professional. Considering the disappointment, they dealt with it very well.”

Other players cut include Chelsea duo Raheem Sterling, who has not played for England since that quarterfinal defeat to France in Qatar, and Levi Colwill, who made his senior debut against Australia last October.

Southgate has selected 11 defenders in the squad along with 12 forwards, although that includes all of England’s wide attacking options. He confirmed that number would have to be reduced by June 7.

“I think you can take too many forwards,” he added. “You can have too many options in certain areas of the pitch. Of course, with forwards you’ve got to give them love and make them feel special.

“If you’ve got too many, that can also be complicated. There’s a lot to think about over the next couple of weeks. I’d have loved it to be cleaner and more definitive, but it’s not the situation we’re in.”

England face Bosnia and Herzegovina in Newcastle on June 3 before taking on Iceland at Wembley four days later.

Preliminary England squad for Euro 2024:

Goalkeepers: James Trafford, Dean Henderson, Aaron Ramsdale, Jordan Pickford

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite, Jarell Quansah, Luke Shaw, Marc Guehi, Ezri Konsa, Lewis Dunk, Joe Gomez, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kieran Trippier

Midfielders: Adam Wharton, Kobbie Mainoo, Curtis Jones, Conor Gallagher, Declan Rice, Trent Alexander-Arnold

Forwards: Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins, Anthony Gordon, Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, James Maddison, Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze, Jack Grealish

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

Source link