Grealish, Maguire cut from England Euros squad


Gareth Southgate has urged his new-look England squad to come together after several high-profile stars were left out of their final 26-man group for Euro 2024.

Manchester City’s Jack Grealish, Manchester United’s Harry Maguire and Tottenham’s James Maddison will all miss this summer’s finals along with Liverpool duo Curtis Jones and Jarell Quansah, and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Burnley’s James Trafford after Southgate trimmed his provisional 33-strong list on Thursday.

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Exactly half of the 26-man squad Southgate took to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar just over 18 months ago have been left behind while 12 of the players selected have never been to a major tournament before.

Maguire’s absence was largely explained by a calf injury which Southgate said would have “definitely” ruled him out of the group stages. Grealish and Maddison were overlooked in favour of including younger attacking options, including Newcastle’s Antony Gordon and Chelsea’s Cole Palmer, with United’s Kobbie Mainoo and Crystal Palace duo Adam Wharton and Eberechi Eze selected despite their inexperience at this highest level.

With Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips also not selected after previously playing key roles during Southgate’s eight years in charge, the Three Lions boss is mindful of the team bonding required during preparations, which continue with Friday’s final warm-up game against Iceland at Wembley.

“Of course, we [have] a lot of changes from Qatar if you go back as far as that,” said Southgate, who planned to hold a team meeting on Thursday night to help draw a line under a difficult week of uncertainty within the group.

“The decision on picking a squad is always a moment in time. Sometimes you perhaps regenerate the group more than you were expecting a couple of months ago but that has already brought a hunger, a competitiveness and the key now is we have to bond as a group.

“There are some players who have been with us a long time where those bonds are really strong and we’ve got to find that. The group have got to work together. They’ve got to realise that when we pick teams, the 15 who are disappointed will be key each match to us doing well because a lot of them are going to come into the game.

The atmosphere around the hotel, the way we are around the training ground, these are the key things that are a success in tournaments.

“So, some of the guys haven’t experienced that at senior level. We’ve got some junior World Cup winners in that group and junior Euros winners so they’ve got tournament experience and we’ve got good guys, really good professionals in that group so I’m not concerned about that but it is part of what we’ve got to work on over the coming weeks.”

Luke Shaw was selected despite not playing since Feb. 18 due to a hamstring problem and Southgate continued: “At the moment, we think he can have some involvement in the second group game.

“But of course, you’ve got to keep hitting the markers. He’s had a good volume of work operating at good speeds as well. I think you can take one gamble and that’s the gamble that we’ve got enough evidence to believe it can pay off.”

Others weren’t so lucky. Grealish only started 10 Premier League games this season as City won their fourth consecutive title. The 28-year-old’s last England start came in October’s friendly win against Australia at Wembley but he was a used substitute in all five of their World Cup matches in Qatar.

Maddison struggled to recapture his early-season form since returning from injury at the end of January, scoring just one Premier League goal against Aston Villa on March 10.

The midfielder was part of England’s 2022 World Cup squad but did not play a single minute as he battled a knee injury.

Writing on X, he said of his omission from Euro 2024: “Devastated doesn’t quite cut it. Trained well and worked hard all week but if I’m honest with myself, my form for Spurs when coming back from injury in the second half of the season probably wasn’t at the levels I had set which gave Gareth a decision to make.”

Southgate said: “The fact is we’ve got some players who have been playing extremely well all season in the league and we just feel other players have had stronger seasons, particularly in the last six months or so. I think we saw some fantastic performances the other night that underlined some of that.

“The attacking areas of the pitch in particular, we’re blessed with a lot of options, all slightly different. Both Madders and Jack give us something slightly different as well. So they’ve been tough calls we’ve gone over and over and over as a group of staff to try to be fair, to get the right rationale.”

Maguire, who has amassed 63 England caps, is another significant absentee.

“Harry has made some progress but that’s been complicated,” Southgate said. “We definitely wouldn’t have had him in the group stages and there were too many hurdles to get through without really being clear of where we might get to.

Given we haven’t got a clean bill of health across the rest of the backline as well, then we need cover, players who are fit and ready to go from the start.

ENGLAND SQUAD FOR 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP:

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Lewis Dunk, Joe Gomez, Marc Guehi, Ezri Konsa, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

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

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



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