Gareth Southgate will shatter the dreams of seven Euro hopefuls on Tuesday with Trent Alexander-Arnold among those in danger of the axe.
Liverpool defender Alexander-Arnold, Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, Sheffield United keeper Aaron Ramsdale, Everton defender Ben Godfrey, Brighton centre-back Ben White and Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins are among the players sweating on their places in Southgate’s final 26-man squad for the European Championships.
Having named a preliminary 33 man party last week, Southgate must trim his squad by midnight, leaving him with the difficult prospect of informing those players who have been cut.
Gareth Southgate will shatter the dreams of seven Euro hopefuls on Tuesday
Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is among those that are in danger of the axe
Ramsdale, Godfrey and White are almost certain to be told they will not be involved at the Euros – but the England boss faces a tough decision on the remaining four players he axes.
All eyes will be on whether Alexander-Arnold keeps his place in the squad for the tournament after he was selected as one of four right-backs in the original party.
The defender’s position in Southgate’s Euros plans was thrown into doubt earlier this year when he was surprisingly omitted from the squad for the start of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign in April.
Speaking last week, Southgate insisted Alexander-Arnold was still under consideration for a place in his final 26 but with Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James also name in the preliminary squad there is doubt over whether England need four recognised right-backs.
Walker and James – who was excellent in Chelsea’s Champions League final win over Manchester City on Saturday – are understood to be the two leading right-backs.
Southgate is known to have fierce loyalty to Trippier, who last season played a key role in helping Atletico Madrid win La Liga.
It leaves Alexander-Arnold facing a stressful wait to discover whether he has been handed a Euros reprieve.
The England boss last week insisted he didn’t necessarily want to pigeon hole Walker, James, Tripper and Alexander-Arnold as right backs, indicating their versatility could see them play in different positions.
Nevertheless, it appears likely one of the four will be at risk later on Monday.
Elsewhere, Watkins – who scored on his England debut in April – will be bracing himself for bad news, while Mason Greenwood, who hasn’t met up with the squad, is also facing an anxious wait.
Bukayo Saka, Jesse Lingard and Ward-Prowse are also among the players on the borderline.
Lingard is hopeful his tournament experience and attacking attributes will give him the upper hand with Southgate mindful of having forward-thinking options off the bench if England are chasing matches.
Likewise, Southgate’s concerns in defensive midfield have eased after Kalvin Phillips returned to full training following the shoulder injury he sustained on the final day of the season, while Jordan Henderson – who hasn’t played since February reported early for England’s pre-tournament training camp in Middlesbrough last week.
Harry Maguire, who is facing a race against time to be fit for England’s opener against Croatia on June 13 with an ankle injury, should be selected despite the concerns over his fitness.
Specialist tech firm STATSports have had an employee with the England camp ahead of the Euros and are providing data on all 33 players, which has aided Southgate in making his decisions.
‘The FA will work closely with the players’ clubs to get data on each individual before they come through the door, so that they get a good picture, a good understanding, of where the players arrived and help them then,’ said STATSports co-founder Sean O’Connor . ‘It’s in the interest of both the club and the federation that they fully understand the position of the player at any given time to be able to make sure they cross the white line on game day in the best possible shape.’
Harry Kane is certain to be named in Southgate’s final party and the captain, who is only 27, admits he feels like the elder statesmen in the group due to the rich flock of young talent Southgate has brought through.
‘We’ve got that really good mixture. I’m like one of the old ones of the group now – I’m 27 but I feel like I’m 35 in that age group,’ said Kane, who also spoke glowingly about Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Declan Rice
‘They’ve been great and I really feel like we can do something really special in the summer.’