The key squad issues facing Southgate

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May 26, 2021
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    Gareth Southgate says England's situation is "more complicated than any other country" after announcing a 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2020.

    The England manager must name a 26-man squad by 1 June.

    Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea play European finals this week.

    "There are 12 players still to play so we're always going to need additional players and added to that we have some injuries at different stages, that we have very little info about," he said.

    "We felt more time will help us make better decisions. Our preference was to name the 26, but we have not got an ideal hand of cards – a lot of unknowns.

    "Info and evidence are very important and we will have a lot more in the next seven days."

    These are some of the key issues facing Southgate before 1 June – and at the bottom of the page you can pick your final 26-man squad.

    • White and Godfrey among uncapped quartet in 33-man provisional England squad

    Who will recover from injury in time?

    While Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope has missed out through injury, there remain fitness issues surrounding several Three Lions players.

    Liverpool's Jordan Henderson, Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips also have injury concerns – though Leeds are confident Phillips can recover from his shoulder injury in time.

    Meanwhile, Manchester United's Harry Maguire is battling to be ready in time for facing Villarreal in Wednesday's Europa League final.

    "We have got a bit of a shortage of information on a couple of the injuries," Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    "Understandably, Manchester United have a big game tomorrow so I get why we haven't been able to access that as easily. I don't know whether he is fit for tomorrow or in three months' time. That is where we are with it."

    And Southgate will hope no other England stars pick up knocks as Manchester City face Chelsea in the Champions League final on Saturday, which could feature the likes of John Stones, Kyle Walker, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount and Phil Foden.

    England team 'not at its peak yet' – Southgate speaks to BBC sports editor Dan Roan

    How many right-backs can you take?

    There is room for Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold despite being left out of the previous England squad in March.

    The 22-year-old is one of four right-backs in the provisional squad, along with Walker, James and Atletico Madrid's Kieran Trippier.

    "You're looking at four right-backs, I just see four good footballers," said Southgate.

    "Trippier can play at left-back. Alexander-Arnold can play at wing-back, I think he can play midfield. I've seen James play on the right side of a back three, at wing-back and as a midfielder. Those flexible players who can fulfil different roles will be hugely important."t

    On Alexander-Arnold, he added: "Trent is very much in contention. People tend to think I don't think Trent is a good footballer. That just isn't the case.

    "I think there is no doubt he could [play in midfield]. He's a fantastic passer of the ball and he has great passing vision. So he's a playmaker from right-back, that's kind of what he is."

    Walker can also play at centre-back – as he has previously for England – but will Southgate really be able to fit all four into his final squad?

    How much faith can he put in youth?

    In the centre-back positions, Brighton's Ben White and Everton's Ben Godfrey are included among four uncapped players in the squad.

    "They are both exciting young defenders," Southgate said. "They are flexible, they play in different roles, this is a great opportunity to get to know them a bit better and for them to work with the team.

    "There is no way of knowing how long they will be with us at this stage but it should be a fantastic experience for them."

    The other two uncapped players are goalkeepers Sam Johnstone, of West Brom, and Sheffield United's Aaron Ramsdale, who were both relegated from the Premier League this season.

    Southgate's squad is bursting with young talent, including three teenagers in 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, plus Arsenal's Bukayo Saka and Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood, who are both 19.

    Eighteen of the 33 players have won fewer than 10 caps.

    "There are too many question marks today," said Southgate. "It will become far clearer. We have got good contingencies in place – a nice balance with young players. If they're with us for one week or five weeks, it will be a brilliant experience.

    "We're building towards a hugely exciting summer. We have to build a team who can win."

    Is there a decision he might regret?

    One experienced player who will miss out is Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier, who played at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

    "Unfortunately I just don't think his season has been long enough to be in the squad and that is a difficult call because I know how much he brings to the whole group," added the England manager.

    "When you are at a tournament the players who put the team first are critical. It wasn't an easy conversation but he is an outstanding professional and took the news in a professional way."

    Along with Everton defender Michael Keane, another notable absentee was Leicester's creative midfielder James Maddison.

    "It's an area of the pitch where we have unbelievable competition for places," Southgate said.

    "We feel there are players ahead of James in that area of the pitch."

    With captain Harry Kane a guaranteed starter, there is also no space for Patrick Bamford – despite scoring 17 Premier League goals this season – or Southampton's Danny Ings in England's attacking department.

    Could transfer talk distract Kane?

    Recent reports indicate England captain Kane, 27, has asked to leave Tottenham – with some suggesting he wants to move before Euro 2020.

    Kane is England men's sixth all-time top scorer with 34 goals and has said he hopes to have "a good, honest conversation" with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy about his future.

    "I don't need to talk about Harry's focus. He has got one goal with us and that's to win a European Championship," said Southgate.

    "What is going on at his club is a matter for him and Tottenham. He has made some statements in the last few days but that is out of the way now and I think it is very unlikely transfer deals will be done while we are away.

    "We are not going to stop phones ringing and cannot control conversations going on in private. Most deals are done after tournaments."

    Analysis – 'Pickford will be undisputed first choice'

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty

    READ:  'I continue to smile every day' - Pele

    Southgate's decision to exclude experienced duo Dier and Keane drives at questions still to be answered in central defence, with Manchester United captain Maguire expected to be fit but still a slight concern after his ankle ligament injury.

    Everton's Godfrey is a deserved inclusion after a superb season in which he has been under Southgate's constant scrutiny. Brighton's White also gets in but there is disappointment for Burnley's James Tarkowski, the excellent Aston Villa defender Ezri Konsa and Fikayo Tomori, who has full international experience and has flourished on loan at AC Milan from Chelsea.

    The exclusion of Leicester City's Maddison is no surprise given his indifferent form and the emergence of so many talented players in that area. Southgate has never appeared convinced and this might just be the confirmation.

    Southampton's Ings will feel hard done by but Southgate has great faith in the natural finishing ability of Greenwood. Leeds United's Bamford will also feel disappointed to not even make the provisional squad after a top-class campaign back in the Premier League.

    And for all the questions earlier this season, Everton's Jordan Pickford will be undisputed first-choice keeper, thanks to a very good second half of the season, plus the unfortunate injury to Pope. Southgate is a huge Pickford fan and will be delighted he recovered his best form in time for the Euros.

    Pick your final England Euros squad

    Pick your 26-man England squad for the Euros.

    First1Second2Third3Fourth4Fifth5Sixth6Seventh7Eighth8Ninth9Tenth10Eleventh11Twelfth12Thirteenth13Fourteenth14Fifteenth15Sixteenth16Seventeenth17Eighteenth18Nineteenth19Twentieth20Twenty First21Twenty Second22Twenty Third23Twenty Fourth24Twenty Fifth25Twenty Sixth26Confirm selection

    England's provisional 33-man squad in full

    Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Man Utd), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheff Utd)

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

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

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

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    1164 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • T

      Comment posted by The Smythe, at 21:02 25 May

      Really wish he would go for it and go full on attack mode. At least if we go out we’ll do so in a blaze of glory, not a negative defensive whimper. We have some great attacking talent so let them go for it, don’t stifle them and then regret what might have been.2168

      • F

        Reply posted by football, at 21:30 25 May

        "Really wish he would go for it and go full on attack mode. At least if we go out we’ll do so in a blaze of glory, not a negative defensive whimper. We have some great attacking talent so let them go for it, don’t stifle them and then regret what might have been."football replied: That midfield looks rather weak.6712

      More replies (32)

    • M

      Comment posted by Matt, at 20:59 25 May

      Another tournament dawns and yet again England go in with no settled team or formation. To speculate that they could win it is an insult to the other teams who actually know how they will play and which players they will use. There is a compelling argument that they have been the most ineptly managed international team for the last 15 years.18934

      • S

        Reply posted by Sir Shawcross, at 21:12 25 May

        "Another tournament dawns and yet again England go in with no settled team or formation. To speculate that they could win it is an insult to the other teams who actually know how they will play and which players they will use. There is a compelling argument that they have been the most ineptly managed international team for the last 15 years."Sir Shawcross replied: What are you on about? The formation is set in stone: 7-2-1 will bring home the cup. Don’t believe me, ask Gareth.10314

      More replies (17)

    • L

      Comment posted by Les, at 20:58 25 May

      Please please, when the final squad is decided only take select players who are fit. In the past we have taken players in the hope they will be fit in time for the later stages and it never works out.1466

      • N

        Reply posted by Nk1, at 21:36 25 May

        "Please please, when the final squad is decided only take select players who are fit. In the past we have taken players in the hope they will be fit in time for the later stages and it never works out."Nk1 replied: Most accurate assessment I’ve read . If you pick in form Players and not select on reputation or sponsors choices how do they end up taking Injured casualties to big tournaments?!634

      More replies (7)

    • S

      Comment posted by saddletramp, at 21:22 25 May

      McNulty
      “Southampton’s Ings will feel hard done by but Southgate has great faith in the natural finishing ability of Greenwood”

      Well Phil,if Southgate has such faith in Greenwood why has he just ONE cap ?

      7 goals in 31 PL appearances in a team that was runner up in the PL doesn’t scream NATURAL GOALSCORER to me.

      Ings has 5 goals more than Greenwood in a team fighting relegation (less games)1437

      • J

        Reply posted by jeffers27, at 22:23 25 May

        "McNulty”Southampton’s Ings will feel hard done by but Southgate has great faith in the natural finishing ability of Greenwood”Well Phil,if Southgate has such faith in Greenwood why has he just ONE cap ?7 goals in 31 PL appearances in a team that was runner up in the PL doesn’t scream NATURAL GOALSCORER to me. Ings has 5 goals more than Greenwood in a team fighting relegation (less games)"jeffers27 replied: Bamford must be gutted948

      More replies (26)

    • J

      Comment posted by Jime, at 20:53 25 May

      The issue facing the England team is their managers negative, safety first tactics.11817

      • S

        Reply posted by Sir Shawcross, at 20:57 25 May

        "The issue facing the England team is their managers negative, safety first tactics."Sir Shawcross replied: That was ky initial thought, too.126

      More replies (3)

    • C

      Comment posted by chelseadad, at 20:59 25 May

      Whoever you pick Gareth, tell them to get out there and have a bloody good go at it. Win or lose, let’s show some b*****x. Might just scare other teams with the attack we have.10810

      • F

        Reply posted by football, at 21:32 25 May

        "Whoever you pick Gareth, tell them to get out there and have a bloody good go at it. Win or lose, let’s show some b*****x. Might just scare other teams with the attack we have."football replied: The key will be scoring more goals than their opponents. If they get that bit right, everything else should simply fall into place.568

      More replies (9)

    • R

      Comment posted by red right hand, at 20:59 25 May

      I’m pumped to see Southgate’s 6-3-1 formation in the summer. Changing to 7-2-1 when we under the cosh9117

      • T

        Reply posted by Tom, at 22:50 25 May

        "I’m pumped to see Southgate’s 6-3-1 formation in the summer. Changing to 7-2-1 when we under the cosh"Tom replied: Seem to remember Greece doing something similar100

      More replies (6)

    • J

      Comment posted by JS72, at 21:08 25 May

      England don’t have a world class goalkeeper or central defenders and this is a problem in the context of trying to win a major tournament.7912

      • F

        Reply posted by football, at 21:31 25 May

        "England don’t have a world class goalkeeper or central defenders and this is a problem in the context of trying to win a major tournament."football replied: Are any of the defenders or midfielders world class?1617

      More replies (33)

    • T

      Comment posted by Tony ratcliffe, at 21:35 25 May

      Disappointed Bamford not picked but football is all about opinion which is half the fun. One player I feel desperately sorry for is Danny Ings. Cant get into a 33 but DCL can. Crazy hes a born goal scorer like Kane. Massive mistake imo661

      • A

        Reply posted by AFCDale, at 21:39 25 May

        "Disappointed Bamford not picked but football is all about opinion which is half the fun. One player I feel desperately sorry for is Danny Ings. Cant get into a 33 but DCL can. Crazy hes a born goal scorer like Kane. Massive mistake imo"AFCDale replied: Yeah I agree, without another proper goalscorer in the squad if anything happens to Kane we’ll be toast, Southgate would almost certainly play even more conservatively if it happened too.360

      More replies (5)

    • F

      Comment posted by footie fan, at 20:52 25 May

      The key issue facing Southgate is his own total inadequacy for the job.Useless.9837

      • P

        Reply posted by Pamela Flower, at 21:07 25 May

        "The key issue facing Southgate is his own total inadequacy for the job.Useless."Pamela Flower replied: Last time he said younger players were not streetwise, of course they aren’t, yet here he is choosing a 17 year old and a 19 year old “to give them experience”. These are not friendlies. He should not be picking young lads, it’s too soon. The man’s a fool3034

      More replies (22)

    • J

      Comment posted by JS72, at 21:26 25 May

      Sky Sports are reporting that in his desperation to win a(ny) trophy Harry Kane has apparently asked to play for France instead.6214

      • T

        Reply posted by TardiGrade, at 22:42 25 May

        "Sky Sports are reporting that in his desperation to win a(ny) trophy Harry Kane has apparently asked to play for France instead."TardiGrade replied: Left the other options Portugal & Belgium61

      More replies (3)

    • W

      Comment posted by Westmoor, at 21:18 25 May

      Its not a question but a statement of fact –

      The key squad issues facing England – Manager Gareth Southgate6719

      • F

        Reply posted by football, at 21:39 25 May

        "Its not a question but a statement of fact – The key squad issues facing England – Manager Gareth Southgate"football replied: His name is an anagram of hugest Earth goat and share out that egg.3810

      More replies (1)

    • M

      Comment posted by MadasaRam, at 21:00 25 May

      Wished we would be set up to play like Keegan’s Newcastle. At least we would be entertaining and if we didn’t win go out with a bang.529

      • J

        Reply posted by Julio Laker, at 21:21 25 May

        "Wished we would be set up to play like Keegan’s Newcastle. At least we would be entertaining and if we didn’t win go out with a bang."Julio Laker replied: When you watch world cup highlights from days gone by it’s the old Brazil and Holland teams you see footage of. Proper attacking intent. Very little from the last 15-20 years. I honestly can’t remember anything exceptional from the last bunch of euros or WCs. Robson Kanu’s Cruyff turn:)?193

      More replies (9)

    • T

      Comment posted by the cliff edge, at 21:50 25 May

      How is Lewis Dunk not in the squad? He is the top ranking English defender in the Premier League this season and he hasn’t ever been given a chance by Southgate. Bizarre.407

      • D

        Reply posted by danny sharp, today at 00:35

        "How is Lewis Dunk not in the squad? He is the top ranking English defender in the Premier League this season and he hasn’t ever been given a chance by Southgate. Bizarre."danny sharp replied: Yes. Very disappointed that Dunk hasn’t made the squad. He’s as good if not better than Mings & Coady Maybe his recent sending off for a rush of blood against wolves counted against him104

      More replies (8)

    • P

      Comment posted by peter, at 21:47 25 May

      Patrick Bamford, 17 goals, 7 assists, played in 37 games, 85 minutes per match, 107 shots, completed passes 78%, Tackle success 53%. Best work rate of any forward. How can Southgate leave him out. Crazy decision.

      How many times have we been told the squad is still developing. A very negative interview from Mr Southgate, already making up excuses sack him now

      5017

      • I

        Reply posted by Irons45, at 21:53 25 May

        "Patrick Bamford, 17 goals, 7 assists, played in 37 games, 85 minutes per match, 107 shots, completed passes 78%, Tackle success 53%. Best work rate of any forward. How can Southgate leave him out. Crazy decision. How many times have we been told the squad is still developing. A very negative interview from Mr Southgate, already making up excuses sack him now"Irons45 replied: Stupid comment
        Let’s get behind our team and be fans of our nation
        If we dont do well then we can speak out but not before a ball has been kicked.1442

      More replies (12)

    • J

      Comment posted by James Bond, at 20:53 25 May

      Don’t go defensive.,use the talent in their best positions.341

      • A

        Reply posted by Alan, at 22:03 25 May

        "Don’t go defensive.,use the talent in their best positions."Alan replied: yes, don’t play the Wolves way39

    • D

      Comment posted by Deejaj, at 21:02 25 May

      It’s only complicated because he’s made it complicated.

      England should win the euros, on home soil, playing games at Wembley.

      Anything else is failure!4412

      • B

        Reply posted by BrightonVilla, at 23:30 25 May

        "It’s only complicated because he’s made it complicated.England should win the euros, on home soil, playing games at Wembley.Anything else is failure!"BrightonVilla replied: Yes Failure! we are world class at that!181

      More replies (5)

    • I

      Comment posted by IfWePlayedBurtonandRotherham, at 22:43 25 May

      Pickford undisputed 1st choice? We’re in trouble.281

      • A

        Reply posted by ashgreener, at 22:46 25 May

        "Pickford undisputed 1st choice? We’re in trouble."ashgreener replied: But he’s good at sending the opposition to hospital.134

      More replies (1)

    • U

      Comment posted by Uncle Ronnies Legs are Trombones, at 21:02 25 May

      I would suggest the “Key squad issues facing the England manager” is they are simply nowhere near good enough to win anything.4217

      • F

        Reply posted by finnharpsman, today at 00:04

        "I would suggest the “Key squad issues facing the England manager” is they are simply nowhere near good enough to win anything."finnharpsman replied: Those players are good enough. Look at the squads for Spain, Belgium and Germany. England players are good enough to win with the right tactics, attitude and comitment that comes from sense of identity. I always think the English players lack a sense of identity which is shown by many other nationalities such as Scottish, Italian, Irish, Spanish etc.225

      More replies (5)

    • J

      Comment posted by Julio Laker, at 21:14 25 May

      Squad isn’t the issue, the manager is4018

      • C

        Reply posted by charlieboy, at 21:36 25 May

        "Squad isn’t the issue, the manager is"charlieboy replied: Looking at that squad, it’s not just the manager who is the issue.99

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