As if to buy himself some time, England head coach Gareth Southgate announced that he was going to name a provisional 33-man squad for his side’s Euro 2020 campaign, which he will then need to whittle down to 26 by June 1.
He will need to get his thinking cap on as he seeks to discard seven players from his short-term list, although the fates of four debutants are likely to be sealed with a ‘thanks but no thanks’.
One of the most contentious players in contention was Trent Alexander-Arnold, the tremendously-gifted Liverpool right back whose occasionally questionable defensive work has led to many critics querying whether he is ready for the elite level.
Either way, Southgate has kept the faith – for the next week, at least – and TAA will take his place on the provisional list.
Who Has Made England’s Provisional Euro 2020 Squad?
|Jordan Pickeford||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Jude Bellingham||Dominic Calvert-Lewin|
|Dean Henderson||Ben Chilwell||Phil Foden||Mason Greenwood|
|Sam Johnstone||Conor Coady||Jack Grealish||Harry Kane|
|Aaron Ramsdale||Ben Godfrey||Jordan Henderson||Marcus Rashford|
|Reece James||Jesse Lingard||Raheem Sterling|
|Harry Maguire||Mason Mount||Ollie Watkins|
|Tyrone Mings||Kalvin Phillips|
|Luke Shaw||Declan Rice|
|John Stones||Bukayo Saka|
|Kieran Trippier||Jadon Sancho|
|Kyle Walker||James Ward-Prowse|
Southgate has named four goalkeepers to kick things off, although it’s likely that one of those will be cut from the 26-man list. Jordan Pickford and Dean Henderson seem auto picks, and Nick Pope would have been the third but for injury. So, the boss must pick between West Brom’s Sam Johnstone and Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale as his third choice.
There’s no shortage of right backs in the squad, with Alexander-Arnold joined by Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker. The left-sided options are led by Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell and even Tyrone Mings, while central defensive options are Harry Maguire, Conor Coady and John Stones, alongside debutants Ben White and Ben Godfrey – that pair look vulnerable to being dropped from the 26 too.
There’s no shortage of options in midfield, and Jordan Henderson – despite missing the last few months of the Premier League season through injury – has been named in the 33.
Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and James Ward-Prowse are the other orthodox midfielders, while Borussia Dortmund pair Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho are also in the mix alongside Jack Grealish, Bukayo Sako and Phil Foden, who could head to Euro 2020 as a Premier League and Champions League double winner with Manchester City.
The in-form Jesse Lingard and Mason Mount have been rewarded, while in attack Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford will be joined by Ollie Watkins, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and youngster Mason Greenwood.
Who Didn’t Make England’s Provisional Euro 2020 Squad?
As mentioned, Nick Pope would have been the third goalkeeper pushing hard for a starting spot – surgery will keep him out of England’s summer plans.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will feel hard done by after a decent season for Manchester United, but the Three Lions are well stocked in the right back department so he will be watching from home like the rest of us.
Some intriguing central defensive picks – Coady, White and co – mean that Eric Dier is a high profile casualty, while Nat Phillips, after a much improved second half of the season, might have felt he had done enough to win a first national call-up.
The midfield area is so strong for England that James Maddison, despite being part of another excellent campaign for Leicester City, only had a half chance of being selected.
In attack, is Dominic Calvert-Lewin a better option than Patrick Bamford or Danny Ings? Only time will tell on that front.