English clubs’ European success gives Gareth Southgate a Euros squad headache

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Dan Kilpatrick
·2-min read
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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

England manager Gareth Southgate is facing major disruption to his preparations for the European Championship in the event of English finalists in the Champions League and Europa League.

Southgate is considering asking members of the Under-21s to make up the numbers in the build-up to the Euros if his squad is depleted by the absence of players from Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United or Arsenal.

The U-21s no longer have a summer tournament after crashing out of their Euros, but Southgate's plan could put him at odds with clubs who would not want their young stars to continue training at the end of a gruelling season.

Southgate is expected to name his final squad on May 25, two days after the Premier League finishes but before the Europa League Final on May 26 and the Champions League Final on May 29.

Southgate wants all his players to have a week off after their final game of the season, but that would not be possible for Champions League finalists, with England due to host Austria in a warm-up game on June 2.

If Chelsea and City both make it to Istanbul, the earliest Southgate could call on Kyle Walker, John Stones, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Reece James, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell would be in England's second warm-up match, against Romania on June 6.

Should Arsenal and United meet in Gdansk, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Bukayo Saka may not play a full part against the Austrians.

Southgate is also considering decreasing the number of players on standby from five to two after Uefa indicated that nations could select an enlarged squad of 26 rather than 23 due to the pandemic.

The England manager was originally set to name five players in reserve but he is wary of the difficulty faced by standbys, who would have to join England’s secure bubble and potentially remain available up until their opening game of the tournament against Croatia on June 13.

Chelsea and City are in pole position to meet in another all-English Champions League Final, with the Blues drawing 1-1 at Real Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final and City beating Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in France.

Manchester United and Arsenal will compete in the Europa League Final if they beat Roma and Villarreal, respectively.

Southgate faced a similar headache before the 2019 Nations League Finals after Tottenham and Liverpool competed in the Champions League Final and Chelsea and Arsenal met in the Europa League.

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