England’s Euro 2024 squad: Rashford and Henderson out, Wharton and Jones in

England’s Euro 2024 squad: Rashford and Henderson out, Wharton and Jones in

Gareth Southgate has made a string of huge decisions in naming England’s 33-player training squad for Euro 2024, with Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson the most eye-catching omissions.

Adam Wharton and Curtis Jones have been surprisingly selected over Henderson in midfield, Ivan Toney has been included in attack and Ben Chilwell has been left out despite major doubts over Luke Shaw’s fitness at left-back.

There is a youthful, fresh look to the squad, which must be cut to 26 before 8 June. Henderson, who has not missed a major tournament since Euro 2012, struggled after moving to the Saudi Pro League and has been unable to recover his form since joining Ajax in January.

Rashford has been far below his best for Manchester United and has paid the price with players such as Cole Palmer, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka in stronger form in the wide attacking positions.

“With Marcus I just feel other people in the area of the pitch have had better seasons,” said Southgate, who described an injury sustained by Henderson in March as the determining factor in the 33-year-old’s omission. “He hasn’t been able to get to the intensity in the games since then,” the manager said.

Southgate gave the impression that leaving out Henderson had been particularly hard. “He’s an excellent individual, a fantastic human being,” he said. “He’s been in that leadership role since I took charge.”

Southgate has left out many of his old faithfuls in midfield, with Kalvin Phillips also omitted. Jones, the Liverpool midfielder, and Wharton, who has shone for Crystal Palace since joining from Blackburn in the winter window, are the beneficiaries. Both are uncapped. Liverpool’s Jarell Quansah, another uncapped player, has also been included.

England’s manager Gareth Southgate speaks during a media briefing at St George’s Park.View image in fullscreen

The big headache for Southgate comes in defence. Shaw, his first-choice left-back, has not played for Manchester United since February but he will be given time to prove his fitness. Southgate will name a final squad of 26 and, at previous tournaments, has given key players time to recover from injury. However Chilwell, who hoped to deputise for Shaw, has not been included. The Chelsea left-back has struggled for fitness. His versatile Chelsea teammate Levi Colwill is not in either and the Chelsea right-back Reece James has also not made the cut.

Southgate described Shaw as a “long shot” to be fit for the tournament but said he given him more time than might have been afforded to other players because of his first-choice status. “He’s up against it,” he said. “He’s missed a lot of football.”

Southgate also has concerns in central defence, where Harry Maguire is an injury doubt. Palace’s Marc Guéhi is in the squad, as are Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Brighton’s Lewis Dunk, but there is no place for Eric Dier.

Reflecting on the volume of players who have been included but whose fitness remains in doubt, Southgate said: “I’d have loved it to be cleaner and more definitive but that’s not the position we’re in.” He said some injury issues were obvious but others were “more nuanced” and that the weeks ahead would determine whether certain players could go to Germany. This was, he said, “as complicated a group as I can remember picking”.

Palace’s attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze has made the cut after a fine end to the season and Toney is included despite last scoring for Brentford on 17 February. The West Ham winger Jarrod Bowen is in together with James Maddison and Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon but there is no place for Raheem Sterling. Nick Pope was the goalkeeper to miss out.

Southgate indicated he would trim the number of forwards, saying “you can take too many” because with players in that position coaches need to “give them love and make them feel special”.

Source: theguardian.com