Gareth Southgate has named an expanded 33-man England squad for Euro 2020 including Liverpool duo Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson, but Nick Pope, Eric Dier and James Maddison all miss out.
Southgate will cut seven players next week after assessing various injury situations while also waiting to see if there are any further complications arising from three English teams contesting the Europa League and Champions League finals in the coming days.
Alexander-Arnold had feared he would miss out after being dropped for England’s previous fixtures in March, but he is still a doubt to play at the finals despite a positive end to the season at Anfield.
Southgate picks 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2020. Alexander-Arnold and Henderson included, no Nick Pope or Maddison. Four uncapped players: Johnstone, Ramsdale, Godfrey, White. pic.twitter.com/btSDIwR5QE
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) May 25, 2021
Asked by reporters on Tuesday if Alexander-Arnold could play in midfield, Southgate said: “I think there’s no doubt he could.
“The difficulty is he hasn’t had the opportunity to do that since he was a younger player and that’s where he came through in Liverpool’s academy.
“He’s a fantastic passer of the ball and has great passing vision. So he’s a playmaker from right-back … So why wouldn’t that lend itself at some point of his career to being in midfield?”
Henderson has not played a competitive fixture since Feb. 20 following groin surgery and is one of several fitness concerns in the squad with Harry Maguire another high-profile concern, having sustained an ankle injury that makes him a doubt for Wednesday’s Europa League final between Manchester United and Villarreal.
The England manager said he had little information about the fitness of the defender, who missed training on Tuesday.
“We had an initial assessment on Maguire, which was positive in terms of the tournament, but there was always a little bit more swelling and further investigation needed,” he said.
“When you’ve got a European final and information for the opposition is so tight, and things do leak, I understand why clubs want to keep their cards close to their chest.
“It’s made it a bit more difficult for us but I don’t have a problem with United… We’ve got some injuries that are at various stages, [with] a couple that we have very little information about at the moment.”
Gareth Southgate defends his 33-man preliminary squad selection, including four right backs, ahead of Euro 2020.
Southgate has opted to include four uncapped players including two goalkeepers — West Bromwich Albion‘s Sam Johnstone and Sheffield United‘s Aaron Ramsdale — and two defenders, Everton‘s Ben Godfrey and Brighton & Hove Albion‘s Ben White. Those decisions were in part influenced by losing Pope, who was vying with Jordan Pickford to start in goal this summer before being forced to undergo a minor knee operation this week.
Dier had suffered a loss of form at Tottenham Hotspur but his absence at the expense of Godfrey and White is a surprise given the influential role he has played during Southgate’s tenure, most memorably scoring the decisive penalty that saw England beat Colombia in a shootout at the round-of-16 stage of the 2018 World Cup.
Maddison had hopes of making the squad after recently returning from a hip injury, but Southgate always harboured doubts over the midfielder’s off-field behaviour and he has been surpassed by Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka.
Southgate will be hopeful there are no further setbacks with Chelsea and Manchester City set to meet in Saturday’s Champions League final. Sources have told ESPN that the 50-year-old and coach Steve Holland informed players in the past 24 hours they all have a chance to stake their claim in the final squad, although whether Alexander-Arnold can force his way above Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James in the pecking order remains to be seen.
Southgate aims to give each player a week’s break from whenever their club season ends before joining up with the squad to begin preparations at St George’s Park.
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale