TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES

Gareth’s big delay

We were ready, Gareth. We were ready.
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We were ready to write that Trent Alexander-Arnold has or has not made the England squad, we were ready to go big with the Eric Dier's key role at Euro 2020 explained feature, we were ready to put a piece together on the Twitter meltdown as insert-passionate-set-of-fans-here declared their outrage at their favourite English player not making the cut.
But alas, you, Gareth Southgate OBE, were not ready.

England's defender Trent Alexander-Arnold reacts during the UEFA Nations League group A2 football match between England and Belgium at Wembley stadium in north London on October 11, 2020

Image credit: Getty Images

And you know what. Fair enough. The England manager is biding his time given every passing day gives Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips and Nick Pope a chance to better prove their fitness, while there are still three English clubs set to play in European finals this week.
That means at least 180 minutes of football to produce more potential injury scares, and so it makes complete sense for Southgate to hit that June 1 deadline like the scruffy kid we all knew who somehow pulled an essay out of the bag at the last minute, having only found the stapler a few minutes prior and googled “what is Oxford referencing” (and why on earth do I have to do it?) the night before.
So yes, it makes sense, but to put off the tough decisions would be cruel. There is of course a great debate (casually insert Eurosport's England squad selection piece here) about the right-backs who should make the Euro 2020 squad, and it appears to be between Reece James and Alexander-Arnold in the bid to join Kieran Trippier and sometimes-centre-back Kyle Walker.
Southgate could well name all four this afternoon, only to remove one come June 1, but surely the point of this delay is to pick cover for the injured names and take away the replacements if passed fit. It would be harsh to pick a right-back only to claim to have actually made your mind up a few days later.
A bit like the weather though it’ll all become a little clearer at 1pm, then a tad clearer once more at 2pm when Southgate speaks.

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You’re a brave man, Lucho

This was not about a former Barcelona manager picking no Real Madrid players, we were told, but… it’s hard to see it differently.
The omission of Sergio Ramos from the Spain squad for Euro 2020 was the headline-grabber, but having only played one game since March due to injury it was not as big a shock as Nacho being overlooked and Aymeric Laporte, Eric Garcia and Cesar Azpilicueta getting the nod at centre-back.
Debate could rumble on as to how much Nacho’s inclusion would have strengthened their cause this summer, but it undeniably would have helped shine the light away from the startling fact that no Real players are in a Spain squad for a major tournament for the first time ever.
If things go wrong, Luis Enrique will face an inevitable backlash, and so of course he will hope this intriguing squad, featuring more Brighton and Wolves players than Real, can go the distance.

My word, Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has put a spin on Juventus relinquishing the Serie A title to Inter in a lengthy Instagram post that you may well get bored of reading halfway through. You can read in the post below, but a favourite is “I’ve already said that I don’t chase records, records chase me".
It has of course also fuelled some gossip columns given he says he has reached his goal at Juventus – “to win the Championship, the Cup and the Super Cup, and also to be Best Player and Top Scorer in this great football country filled with tremendous players”.
He goes on:
Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that I’ve left my mark in the countries where I’ve played, and that I gave joy to the fans of the clubs I represented. This is what I work for, this is what moves me and this is what I’ll always keep chasing for until the last day.
Could read a lot into that. As some websites already have. Adding Ronaldo to the potential forward merry-go-round this summer would certainly make for an interesting watch, so let’s see shall we.

IN OTHER NEWS

Poch-back?

It has been covered in Paper Round so we shan’t go into too great a detail here, but Miguel Delaney has caused quite the avalanche in the form of suggesting Spurs could turn to Mauricio Pochettino in their search to replace the man who replaced Mauricio Pochettino:
Some figures at the club are now seriously suggesting it could be worth returning to Pochettino. There is a feeling that he has found the nature of Paris Saint-Germain more of a headache to manage than expected, and may be open to it. Levy also feels the need for an exciting appointment, as a gesture to unhappy supporters as much as anything.
Of course it means “Poch” is trending on a Tuesday morning, and Spurs fans have themselves asking whether this could really happen and the past two years could be erased from their minds Men-In-Black style.

Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy, Tottenham Hotspur

Image credit: Getty Images

IN THE CHANNELS

Brereton el chileno

Some story this, with Blackburn's Ben Brereton – Stoke-on-Trent born and bred – switching his international allegiance from England to… Chile!
The 22-year-old, who featured at England U20 level, is half-Chilean, which he revealed (to those who didn’t know) back in a A-Z Q&A on the Blackburn website in 2018:
I’m half Chilean. My mum is from Chile and my dad is from England, so I am half Chilean. The lads didn’t believe me, but my mum came over to England when she was young and ended up with my dad. I suppose that means I’m eligible to play for Chile, right?
Right you are… with Brereton earning his first Chile call-up for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Bolivia. Well in.

COMING UP

Not much in the way of live football, there’s some National League later while it’s Indonesia vs Afghanistan and Thailand vs Oman too. The main focus really is Southgate’s England squad, which we’ll have plenty of news and reaction to as he names a provisional squad at 1pm, then explains his reasoning at 2pm.
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