UEFA is set to allow nations to name expanded squads of 26 players for this summer’s rearranged European Championship.
Having postponed the tournament last year, changes to the original competition continue as Euro 2020 goes ahead amid the coronavirus-shaped backdrop.
UEFA’s executive committee last month confirmed teams will be able to make five substitutions per game at the tournament to help balance player workload at the end of an intense season.
With such issues in mind, squads at the Euros are now set to be increased from 23 players to a group of 26 in a move that is expected to be rubberstamped by the executive committee of European football’s governing body.
But what does that mean for Gareth Southgate’s England selection? Sky Sports News‘ Rob Dorsett looks at the potential winners….
The news that Gareth Southgate is likely to have 26 rather than 23 players in his squad for the Euros will have been cheered loudly in Dortmund, North London and Merseyside in particular.
Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Trent Alexander-Arnold are three players who were very much on the fringes of a 23-man squad, but who may well benefit from a bigger quota.
Bellingham has been lauded for his form in the Bundesliga – and in particular against Manchester City in the Champions League a fortnight ago.
But the fact that Southgate only gave him 45 minutes of football in England’s latest triple-header left many feeling that the 17-year-old would miss out on this summer’s tournament.
Now, with three extra players to call upon, Bellingham is odds-on to be included.
So too Saka. Back to full fitness and playing well for Arsenal, he’s now a strong contender for a spot in the squad. The hamstring injury which meant he missed the World Cup Qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland might have cost Saka dear. But that doesn’t look the case now.
Southgate likes his versatility, because he can play anywhere on the left flank, and the fact that Saka has been playing in a more advanced role for his club suits the England manager’s need for more wide attacking options (especially with injury concerns for Jadon Sancho, Harvey Barnes and Jack Grealish).
The Villa captain, too, will be heartened by Tuesday’s news. Close to a comeback on several occasions from the shin injury that has kept him out since mid-February, Grealish will feel with some confidence that if he can get back and play a few games for Villa before the end of the season, he could yet find his way into the final squad.
Sancho will also be feeling more optimistic, now that he’s back playing for Dortmund after seven weeks out with a muscle injury. He’s had two 60-minute cameos within four days in the Bundesliga – but on recent form for England, you’d have to expect he’d miss out if it was a straight shoot-out with Grealish.
Alexander-Arnold was surprisingly left out of Southgate’s last group, victim of all the options that England have at right-back. But if Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker offer useful cover in other defensive positions, Alexander-Arnold offers arguably the most in terms of set-piece delivery and attacking intent.
That may be enough to get him one of the three extra places in the squad.
Southgate chose to watch Leeds versus Manchester United on Sunday, instead of the Carabao Cup final, which has led to reports that Mason Greenwood and Patrick Bamford might still be in his thoughts. Both are probably long shots at this stage, unless there are injury issues for Harry Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Marcus Rashford in the coming weeks.
Other fringe players include Eric Dier, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady – all of whom were in Southgate’s last squad, but had little game time (Coady played 90mins against San Marino, Mings 45 minutes in the same game, Dier never got off the bench in any of the three matches).
That battle for probably one centre-back berth remains too close to call, though Dier’s ability to also play in a defensive midfield role might put him at the front of the queue.
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have named their 23-man England squads for this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.
Nether Carragher nor Neville have found room for Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka or Jesse Lingard in their selections.
And the pair have clashed on the shape of the squads, with Carragher selecting more defenders than Neville despite the former Manchester United full-back including Eric Dier.
Carragher and Neville were also split on whether James Ward-Prowse or Jude Bellingham should make the squad, and divided on the inclusion of Mason Greenwood.
Who do you think should be in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the tournament? Pick your squad and share your selection.
The 12-month postponement to the tournament has given some English players a chance to impress Southgate, with the likes of Jesse Lingard, Ollie Watkins and Jude Bellingham staking a claim for a spot in the squad.
But who should make the cut?
Sky Bet has refreshed its market to incorporate the 26-man squad rule change. Which players are being backed to make it? Sky Bet has also said any bets already placed on its previous 23-man squad market will stand.
- Sunday June 13 – Group D: England vs Croatia; Kick-off 2pm (London)
- Friday, June 18 – Group D: England vs Scotland; Kick-off 8pm (London)
- Tuesday June 22 – Group D: Czech Republic vs England; Kick-off 8pm (London)