06 June 2024

We just feel other players have had stronger seasons – Southgate on omissions

06 June 2024

Gareth Southgate said Jack Grealish and James Maddison missed out on places in his England squad for Euro 2024 because other players had stronger seasons with their clubs.

The England boss named an initial 33-man training squad that needed trimming to 26 players by 11pm on Friday but opted to make the announcement on Thursday, on the eve of the friendly against Iceland.

Grealish and Maddison were the big-name omissions, along with the injured Harry Maguire, who Southgate confirmed would not be fit for the group stages in Germany.

Asked why the duo missed out, Southgate replied: “All of the players took the news really respectfully, of course all players are going to believe they should be in; that is why they are top players, they have the self-belief and the mindset.

“The fact is, we have 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 past six months or so.”

The inexperienced quartet of Jarrad Branthwaite, Curtis Jones, James Trafford and Jarell Quansah unsurprisingly also missed out, although the latter player will still be part of the squad against Iceland.

Maguire was one of a number of fitness doubts but – while his Manchester United team-mate Luke Shaw has made it – the 31-year-old centre-back will sit out the tournament.

“The decision on Harry is totally about his physical condition,” Southgate said. “There is no other reason – he is obviously one of our strongest centre-backs.”

On Shaw, Southgate admitted it was a “gamble” worth taking despite the left-back being sidelined since February with a hamstring injury.

“He has progressed really well in the last couple of weeks,” said Southgate.

“At the moment we think he could have some involvement in the second group game – but of course you’ve got to keep hitting the markers.

“He has had a good volume of work, operating at good speeds as well. I think you can take one gamble and that is the gamble – we have got enough evidence to believe it can pay off.”

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