Gareth Southgate has included Ben White, Ben Godfrey and Trent Alexander-Arnold in his provisional 33-man squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament. The England manager has been hit with a number of late injury scares, and will be without 13 of his players for one or both of his pre-tournament friendlies with Austria and Romania next week as those at Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United prepare for European finals. This is the reason he has named seven extra players. He will whittle the squad down to the final 26 on Tuesday 1 June.
The real winners of the day include Everton’s Ben Godfrey and Brighton & Hove Albion’s versatile centre-back Ben White, who have never before been called up. Due to Nick Pope’s knee injury, Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale have also made it in.
17-year-old Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham features, while there are also call-ups for attacking trio Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood and Ollie Watkins. At right-back, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is back after being dropped in March. He will have to wait to see if he’s included in the final squad.Embed from Getty Images
But whenever there are winners, there are also losers. Leeds United favourite Patrick Bamford was again snubbed by Southgate, who also decided against including Eric Dier. The Tottenham defender was the Three Lions’ penalty hero against Colombia at the World Cup but has struggled for form at Tottenham Hotspur since, particularly this season. Leicester City’s James Maddison has also missed out. Southgate outlined his reasoning behind that decision in his post-announcement press conference, also explaining the omissions of Fikayo Tomori, Lewis Dunk, Ezri Konsa and Danny Ings.
The goalkeeper position has seen a slight change from the last squad when Johnstone, Pope and Dean Henderson were picked in the absence of injured first-choice Jordan Pickford. Three of those four feature in this preliminary squad, while the injured Pope is replaced by Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale.
Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw were always seen as the natural choices at left-back and both will expect to make final 26 when it is named on Tuesday 1 June. On the right flank, Alexander-Arnold is back amongst things, joined by Southgate’s three preferred right-backs in recent months: Kyle Walker, Reece James and recent La Liga winner Kieran Trippier of Atlético Madrid.Embed from Getty Images
In central defence, there are first call-ups for Everton’s Ben Godfrey and for Brighton’s Ben White. Southgate’s likely starters at the tournament, John Stones and Harry Maguire, picked themselves, although Maguire is still nursing an injury and is a doubt to start Manchester United’s Europa League final tomorrow night. Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings make up the six included.
Southgate has included just seven midfielders, and is expected to include at least six of them in his 26-man squad. Jordan Henderson is back despite not featuring for club or country since February due to a groin injury. Declan Rice and Mason Mount’s inclusions bring no surprises, and there are also call-ups for Jesse Lingard, Jude Bellingham and James Ward-Prowse. Kalvin Phillips is receiving treatment at Leeds for a shoulder injury he picked up on the final day of the Premier League season. He is expected to be back in time for the finals and has made the 33.
The inclusion of ten attackers owes to England’s incredible depth in forward positions at present. Bukayo Saka is the most noteworthy inclusion, joined by mainstays Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden in the wide-forward areas. Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood and Grealish’s Aston Villa teammate Ollie Watkins feature as players capable of being deployed out wide or down the middle. The two out-and-out strikers are Dominic Calvert-Lewin and captain Harry Kane, who became only the third player to register the most goals and most assists in a single Premier League season.Embed from Getty Images
Southgate would likely have called up his final 26 today, had injuries and the European finals not disrupted his schedule. Despite the final squad being named the day before the first of England’s two preparation friendlies, Southgate is expected to keep those who miss out on the squad with him. A few can expect to feature against Austria and Romania.
It’s a squad of few surprises and there aren’t many left disappointed who expected to feature. But the cutthroat moment is still to come. Southgate will deliver bad news to seven of these players in a week’s time.