Southgate buys time with provisional England squad for Euro 2020


London (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate said the number of his players involved in European finals this week and injury doubts forced him to delay naming a final squad for Euro 2020 until June 1.

Southgate selected a provisional 33-man squad on Tuesday that included uncapped defenders Ben Godfrey and Ben White.

Manchester United take on Villarreal for the Europa League on Wednesday before Manchester City and Chelsea face off in an all-English Champions League final on Saturday.

United and Liverpool captains Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson as well as Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips are all included in Southgate’s squad despite injury doubts.

“Our situation is more complicated than any other country at the moment. Of this 33, we have 12 players still to play in European finals this week so we are always going to need some additional players for the first part of our camp,” Southgate said in a press conference after unveiling the squad.

“My preference is to name the squad as a clean 26. We were able to do that ahead of Russia (World Cup in 2018). We had stand-by players that knew their role. That’s always a preferable situation, but we’ve not got an ideal pack of cards this time and there are a lot of unknowns.

“We’ll know a lot more in the next seven days and be able to make the best decisions we can.”

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is among four right-backs included amid speculation he is set to miss out on the final squad despite a return to form in the final weeks of the season.

England face Austria on June 2 and Romania four days later in pre-tournament friendlies at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.

The Three Lions begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia on June 13 before facing Scotland and the Czech Republic in Group D.

The future of England captain Harry Kane at club level could become a distraction during the tournament after the Premier League Golden Boot winner announced his desire to leave Tottenham last week.

But Southgate dismissed the chance of any deal happening during the Euro despite reported interest from City, United and Chelsea.

“I don’t think I need to have a conversation with Harry Kane regarding focus or professionalism,” added Southgate.

“He has got one goal while with us and that’s to win a European Championship.

“What’s going on with his club is a matter for him and Tottenham. He’s made some statements in the last few days so in many respects that’s out of the way now.

“I think it’s very unlikely that transfer deals will be done while we are away.

“I’m very realistic about those things, we are not going to stop phones ringing, we can’t control conversations going on in private, but most deals are done at the end of tournaments or in the first week after the end of the season.

“I would expect anything involving our players to be after the tournament.”

Even with selecting 33, Southgate has left out some experienced internationals. Tottenham pair Eric Dier and Dele Alli, both regulars in the run to the World Cup semi-finals three years ago, are omitted. The back-up goalkeeper in Russia, Nick Pope, is unavailable because he needs knee surgery.

Provisional England squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)

Defenders: Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Ben Chilwell, Reece James (Chelsea), John Stones, Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Conor Coady (Wolves) Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Godfrey (Everton), Ben White (Brighton)

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Jesse Lingard (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund/GER), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

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