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Euro 2024: Grealish and Toney to miss out with Wharton and Watkins included as we select our England squad

Should Jack Grealish make England's Euro 2024 squad? And which defenders should be on the plane to Germany?

Jack Grealish

England took another encouraging step in their Euro 2024 build-up last night with a routine 3-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina at St James’ Park.

While it was a typical pre-tournament friendly that lacked an element of competitive intensity, it did provide Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate with further evidence of the strength in his squad.

He has just one more game – against Iceland on Friday – before announcing his final 26-man squad for the tournament in Germany.

That means seven players need to be cut from his provisional 33-strong group, providing Southgate with plenty of headaches between now and then.

Here we offer our suggestions on how the squad should look.

 

When will Southgate announce the squad for Euro 2024?

The UEFA deadline is Friday, June 7, a week before the opening game between Germany and Scotland.

With England also playing that night, it is likely Southgate will inform UEFA on Friday but save the announcement to the public until Saturday, June 8.

 

Goalkeepers

Arguably the easiest choice with Burnley’s James Trafford almost certain to miss out although his time will come.

Defence

In an ideal world, England would go into the tournament with a back four of Kyle Walker – John Stones – Harry Maguire – Luke Shaw.

However, it isn’t an ideal world and both Maguire and Shaw are unlikely to be fit to face Iceland while it remains to be seen if they will be available for England’s first game in Germany, against Serbia on June 16.

It means Newcastle right-back Kieran Trippier will shift over to the left but also provides Joe Gomez with a place in the squad due to the impressive way he covered for Andy Robertson at Liverpool this season.

England have an abundance of right-backs, meaning Ezri Konsa’s versatility is not required while Jarell Quansah loses out on experience alone.

Midfield

As with all selections, the main factor will be Southgate’s chosen formation. While there is the usual clamour for him to release the shackles and play Declan Rice as the sole holding midfielder, Southgate will most likely stick with Rice and AN Other. Mr Other is likely to be Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, who showed again last night he is well suited to a holding midfield role with his range of passing.

The need for two sitters means places for both Kobbie Mainoo and Adam Wharton as back-up.

Further forward, Jude Bellingham is a shoo-in, although his underwhelming display for Real Madrid in the Champions League final proved again he is in need of a rest.

Forwards

Captain Harry Kane is the first name on the team-sheet and, now free of a niggling back injury, will spearhead England’s challenge in Germany. He will start every game if fit, so does Southgate need two back-ups? Most likely not, meaning it will come down to a straight fight between Ivan Toney and Ollie Watkins. We’re plumping for Watkins because, while he has yet to sparkle for England, he goes into the tournament full of confidence after a wonderful season for Aston Villa that saw him contribute 19 goals and 13 assists.

Assuming Southgate plays 4-2-3-1, then it seems inconceivable to think he won’t play Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden in the wide positions.

If the handbrake is released – particularly in a group phase that also includes Serbia, Slovenia and Denmark – then Anthony Gordon seems the most likely to step up with Foden moving inside to partner Bellingham.

Gordon gets the nod over Jack Grealish, who if left at home will be the headline omission despite a relatively poor season for Manchester City.

Our squad:

Pickford, Ramsdale, Henderson; Walker, Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Guehi, Gomez, Dunk, Branthwaite, Shaw; Alexander-Arnold, Bellingham, Gallagher, Mainoo, Rice, Wharton; Bowen, Eze, Foden, Gordon, Palmer, Saka, Watkins, Kane 

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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