England play for time with 33-man provisional Euro squad
Manager Gareth Southgate says the breathing room will allow him to make better decisions
London — Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold earned a recall in a 33-man provisional England squad for Euro 2020 on Tuesday as manager Gareth Southgate plays for time before whittling the numbers down.
The right-back was dropped in March for World Cup qualifiers but he made the cut in a squad that will be reduced to 26 players ahead of a June 1 Uefa deadline. The June 11-July 11 championship is being held across Europe, with semifinals and the final at London’s Wembley Stadium as well as some group stage games.
The delay in naming a final squad gives Southgate time to factor in those still playing European club matches, but also opened a guessing game about which seven would be dropped.
“I think our situation is more complicated than any other countries at the moment,” the manager said. “We’ve got 12 players still to play in the European finals this week so we were always going to need some additional players for the first part of our camp.
“We felt more time is going to help us to make better decisions. I’ve always said my preference would be to name the squad as a clean 26 … but we have not got an ideal hand of cards this time.”
Manchester United play the Europa League final against Villarreal on Wednesday while Chelsea and Manchester City meet in Saturday’s Champions League final.
Southgate named four uncapped players — Brighton defender Ben White, Everton’s Ben Godfrey, West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone and Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale.
Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, Manchester United’s Harry Maguire and Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips, all with lingering injury concerns, were included. So too were three teenagers — Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.
Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford misses out, as do injured Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, Tottenham’s Eric Dier and Southampton forward Danny Ings.
Southgate said dropping Dier had not been easy but his season had not been good enough to warrant a place. He defended the decision to name four right-backs, saying: “People feel I have an obsession with right-backs. I just see four good footballers.
“[Kieran] Trippier can play right-back or left-back, Trent can play right-back, wing-back, I think he can play in midfield. In the last few days I’ve seen Reece James play right of a three, at wing-back, in the middle of midfield.
“We’re going to a tournament and those sorts of flexible players that can fulfil different roles but are good footballers are going to be hugely important to us.”
Southgate was confident talismanic striker Harry Kane would not be distracted by transfer talk after seeking a move from Tottenham. “I don’t ever need to have a conversation with Harry Kane regarding focus or professionalism. He has got one goal this summer whilst with us and that’s to win a European Championship,” he said.
England face Austria and Romania in friendlies in the first week of June, before their Euro 2020 Group D campaign starts with games against Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic.
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