England squad announcement: 33 players still face anxious wait after provisional Euros team is confirmed

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·3-min read
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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jesse Lingard and Jack Grealish were today included in England’s 33-man provisional European Championship squad.

They were joined by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Bukayo Saka, as Gareth Southgate opted to keep his players guessing ahead of the finals.

Some players, however, now know they won’t be competing at this summer’s Euros, with Leicester City’s James Maddison and Eric Dier of Tottenham two notable absentees.

Dier, in particular, has been a regular for Southgate after excelling at the 2018 World Cup, but he and Maddison have fallen victim for a dip in form recently.

The England manager has bought himself time by deciding to name a large provisional squad, before reducing it to 26 next Tuesday. But it means a host of players still face an anxious wait before Southgate makes his final call.

Lingard has made a late push after being left on the fringes at Manchester United. His outstanding form on loan at West Ham saw him score nine goals in 16 appearances as David Moyes’s side secured Europa League qualification.

Southgate rewarded him with an England recall in March after personally recommending the forward to West Ham in January.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Grealish’s inclusion has been a source of debate all season, with the Aston Villa captain seen as a rival to Phil Foden and Mason Mount.

He could still miss the final cut, but is clearly high in Southgate’s thoughts. Saka has been rewarded for his continued development at Arsenal, which has seen him become a revelation for club and country.

England squad in full

Goalkeepers: Henderson, Johnstone, Pickford, Ramsdale

Defenders: Alexander-Arnold, Chilwell, Coady, Godfrey, James, Maguire, Mings, Shaw, Stones, Trippier, Walker, White

Midfielders: Bellingham, Henderson, Lingard, Mount, Phillips, Rice, Ward-Prowse

Forwards: Calvert-Lewin, Foden, Grealish, Greenwood, Kane, Rashford, Saka, Sancho, Sterling, Watkins

The decision to name a long list was due to the involvement of three English teams in European finals this week, with 11 players in action for Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Harry Maguire is one of the major injury concerns, with the centre-back a serious doubt for United’s Europa League Final against Villarreal in Gdansk tomorrow due to ankle ligament damage.

It is still not certain he will be fit for England’s opening game at the Euros, against Croatia on June 13 at Wembley.

There is also uncertainty over Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who has returned to fitness but not played since suffering a groin injury in February.

PA Wire
PA Wire

Nick Pope (knee) will miss out, but Kalvin Phillips is expected to recover from a shoulder injury in time for the finals.

Southgate has handed opportunities to a number of uncapped players, with four being named in this 33-man group.

Two of those are goalkeepers - Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone - but centre-back sBen White and Ben Godfrey are in there too.

Doubts over several players have forced Southgate to take a cautious approach — and he is determined to give himself as long as possible before confirming his final 26.

UEFA’s decision to expand squads from 23 to 26 in light of the demands placed on players due to the pandemic, has already given Southgate more room to manoeuvre. While he suggested he would rather stick to the original number, it has provided him the opportunity to select the odd wildcard, if he desires.

Even with an expanded squad, Alexander-Arnold faced an anxious end to the season after being left out of the last England squad in March.

POOL/AFP via Getty Images
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Liverpool right-back has been overtaken by Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James after seeing his form dip as Jurgen Klopp’s side mounted a tame defence of their League title.

The inclusion of four right-backs could be seen as excessive, even if Walker and James can double up as centre backs.

The FA confirmed last night the plans to name an initial long list, which suggests Southgate is still deliberating over his selection.

It also means a further anxious wait for those players on the cusp of inclusion.

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