England squad announcement: The main talking points
Gareth Southgate named his provisional 27-man England squad for the Nations League on Thursday and Marcus Foley cast his expert eye over the key talking points.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker.
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Harry Winks (Tottenham)
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth).
FINAL SQUAD SUBMISSION
Southgate has to name his final 23-man squad on May 27.
ONE BIG ISSUE
Actually, make that two:
- Europa League final: May 29, Baku. England players involved: One
- Champions League final: June 1, Madrid. England players involved: Nine
Therefore, Southgate could find himself with 10 players in his final squad who could be playing in showpieces finals just days before the tournament starts. England can, of course, call up replacement players should members of the squad pick up injuries.
However, as Southgate eluded to in his press conference, those players involved in the Champions League final – all 10 of them – will most likely commence training with England on Tuesday June 4, two days ahead of the Three Lions’ semi-final with the Netherlands.
Southampton, who finished the season strongly under Ralph Hasenhüttl, have two players in the squad, Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse. Redmond, 25, has one England cap while the 24-year-old Ward-Prowse has been capped twice. Southgate knows both players from his time with the England U21 set-up, which may have had a bearing on the decision-making process.
Marcus Rashford, who hit 13 goals in 47 games this season, is desperately out of form but retains his spot in the squad along with Manchester United team-mate Jesse Lingard.
However, their chances of retaining their places in the squad might be linked to the fitness of two Tottenham players. If Harry Kane proves his fitness in the Champions League final then he is a shoo-in for the squad. While Southgate is a big admirer of Harry Winks’ ball-recycling abilities in the centre of midfield.
Luke Shaw of Manchester United poses with the Players' Player of the Year and the Sir Matt Busby Fans' Player of the Year award at the club's annual Player of the Year awards at Old Trafford on May 09, 2019 in Manchester, England.Getty Images
Luke Shaw, Manchester United’s player of the season, looks, at first glance, a surprise omission. However, the England boss said the decision was not a difficult one in his press conference. Ben Chilwell will most likely start with Danny Rose a more than able understudy.
WHERE ARE THE YOUNG GUNS?
Much has been made of the group of emerging England talent but, bar Jadon Sancho, this squad is light on those names. And there is a very good reason for that: the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship that runs from June 16 to June 30 will likely see players like Phil Foden, Aaron Wan Bissaka, James Maddison, Demarai Gray, Ryan Sessegnon and Mason Mount take centre stage for Aidy Boothroyd’s men.
Mason Mount of Derby CountyGetty Images
WHAT HAS SOUTHGATE SAID?
ON THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
"It's going to be a fascinating challenge but not unique because of last year. Realistically, we won't have them [players involved in the Champions League final] on the training pitch until Tuesday and we have a game Thursday, so that is not ideal. But I've got an excellent squad, and excellent competition for places, so we will deal with it.
"In international football, things are out of your control, even more so than in club football, so we have to make sure the decisions we make as staff are the right ones. I know the players will be excited about this opportunity to win silverware against some very tough opposition."
ON HARRY KANE
"That's [Kane's fitness] one of the unknowns. He is working towards being fit for Champions League final and we have to see how that progresses.
"He's a player we want to give every opportunity to as he's scored so many goals for us and he's our captain, so we're keeping that door open for him."