Euro squad: Alexander-Arnold in, Saka out; Who will make England's 26-man team?

Gareth Southgate has the task of leaving out seven players before the team heads into preparatory mode for the Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate will announce his final 26-man England squad on Tuesday.   -  AP

England manager Gareth Southgate will name his final 26-man squad for next month’s rescheduled European Championships on Tuesday, trimming seven names from the 33 that he had announced last week in light of several Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United players being involved in the Champions League and Europa League finals.

The most obvious decision would be the omission of the fourth-choice goalkeeper, Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale. In 38 appearances in the Premier League, Ramsdale conceded 63 goals as Sheffield was relegated to the Championship. Jordan Pickford has been Southgate’s trusted No. 1, while Dean Henderson and Sam Johnstone will be the next in line as covers.

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Selection headache in defence

Despite the injury that caused him to miss the Europa League final, Manchester United’s Harry Maguire will make the cut. Kyle Walker and Reece James are more than capable of playing as the right-sided centre-back. James is appearing to be a strong contender for the starting wing-back berth after his form with Chelsea this season and his performance in the Champions League final. The left-back place has two excellent options in Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold was left out of the England squad in March. PHOTO: AP   -  AP

With Southgate’s fondness for three central defenders and the need for versatility within the squad, one of Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings could miss out. Since Mings is the only natural left-footed centre-back in the squad, Coady might be axed from the final squad. Ben White (Brighton and Hove Albion) and Ben Godfrey (Everton), who were handed their first call-ups, are also likely to miss out.

The most contentious call will be that of right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who will likely make the touring squad despite having three other options in the same position. Southgate spoke highly of the Liverpool player’s versatility to play in central midfield and his passing ability, which could provide the England boss with more options during the Euros. Since Trent was omitted from the England squad in March, the attacking full-back has racked up four assists and a goal in 11 appearances.

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“He’s a fantastic passer of the ball and has a great passing vision. So he’s a playmaker from right back... So why wouldn’t that lend itself at some point of his career to being in midfield?” noted the 50-year-old coach.

Midfield brimming with youth

Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse could be the only midfielder to miss out with several options available for Southgate in the middle of the park. Jordan Henderson, who suffered a groin injury in February, was last seen on the bench during Liverpool’s final game of the season and should be available for the tournament. Leeds United’s defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips seems to have shaken off his injury concern as well.

Chelsea's Mason Mount has had a successful season at club level. PHOTO: REUTERS   -  Pool via Reuters

Jesse Lingard was part of England’s run to the World Cup semifinals in 2018, and his form while on loan at West Ham United has brought him back to the fold again after a period out of the side.

But it’s the form of the young trio of Mason Mount, Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice that will please Southgate the most. Mount was named Chelsea’s player of the year and provided the assist for the winning goal in the Champions League final against Manchester City. Bellingham, just 18-years-old, appeared unfazed against the European elite with Borussia Dortmund, while Rice is the most important defensive midfield option at West Ham United.

Stacked with attackers

Southgate has a wealth of attacking options to call upon with striker Harry Kane as one of the first names on the team sheet. Dominic Calvert-Lewin provides an alternative with his aerial presence in the No. 9 role, while teenager Mason Greenwood is among the most natural finishers in the England setup. The youngster has scored seven goals in 13 matches since the last international break in March.

A surprise omission could be that of Raheem Sterling, who has struggled for form and minutes with Manchester City. But he has been an integral player for Southgate with the national team in the last four years and should make the final cut.

Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden are the only natural right-sided wide attackers in the squad, while Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish provide pace and creativity down the left.

Sterling's form has tailed off in the second half of the season with Manchester City. PHOTO: REUTERS

 

With the attacking stable packed with high-profile forwards, Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka will likely be the unlucky duo to be left out.

England plays friendlies against Austria and Romania in June before its Euro 2020 Group D campaign begins with matches against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic.

England's possible 26-man squad

GoalkeepersDefendersMidfieldersForwards

Dean Henderson (Manchester United)

Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)

Reece James (Chelsea)

Harry Maguire (Manchester United)

Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)

John Stones (Manchester City)

Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)

Mason Mount (Chelsea)

Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Declan Rice (West Ham)

Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United)

Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)

Raheem Sterling (Manchster City)

Phil Foden (Manchster City)

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)

 

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