Gareth Southgate begins telling stars they are unlikely to play at the Euros as England boss finalises plans for upcoming competition… with conversations already held with Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold and Everton’s Michael Keane
- Gareth Southgate has begun telling players they are unlikely to play at the Euros
- The England boss is finalising his party to take to this summer’s competition
- Trent Alexander-Arnold, Michael Keane and Harry Winks face a nervous wait
- Southgate revealed he has broken the news to some players over his plans
Gareth Southgate has started the agonising process of informing players they are unlikely to make England’s squad for the European Championship.
Having led the Three Lions to nine points from their first three World Cup qualifiers, the England boss will now focus on finalising his party for this summer’s Euros.
UEFA are currently in talks over increasing squad sizes from 23 to 25. Nevertheless, Southgate faces the uneasy prospect of calling players to tell them they will not be part of England’s tilt at winning their first trophy since 1966.
Gareth Southgate has already begun telling players they are unlikely to play at the Euros
The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Michael Keane and Harry Winks will be fearing the worst after missing out on the most recent squad, and Eric Dier and Ollie Watkins are also facing an anxious wait, despite having been involved in the latest fixtures.
For an international manager, informing players they will miss major tournaments is one of the most difficult aspects of the job. But Southgate has revealed he has already started breaking the news to players about where they feature in his plans, preparing some for the worst.
‘It is a difficult message and nobody looks forward to it,’ said Southgate. ‘I’ve always got to remember that it’s worse for those receiving it than for those giving it, so you’ve got to have that empathy with the players.
The Three Lions enjoyed a perfect international break, winning all three World Cup qualifiers
Now the England boss is looking ahead to finalising his party to take to the competition
With Gareth Southgate beginning to narrow down his squad for the Euros, this is Sportsmail’s best guess of who’s in, who’s out, and who’s on the fringe. This is on the basis of UEFA approving a rule for nations to have squads of 25 players, rather than 23.
‘I’ve spoken to quite a few already this week and I will do more over the next couple of weeks so that they know exactly where they sit because I think that is helpful.
‘You’ve got to manage expectations and have some reality about what they need to do between now and the end of the season. It’s a horrible conversation to be having.’
Alexander-Arnold is among those who Southgate has spoken to, and Sportsmail understands the manager has also had a conversation with Keane.
One of the factors in deciding who makes the final cut will be versatility, so players who can play in different positions should benefit.
Southgate said that he will also think about which players will be happy to sit on the bench. He added: ‘Everybody is so close and that’s so important. It’s not something anybody sees outside the camp, but you’ve got players training at the right level every day, encouraging each other through those training sessions, socially getting on well together.
‘It’s not all about that social part, but the part where you accept being on the bench is critical and was very important to us getting nine points when a lot of other big countries weren’t able to do that.’
Southgate also said he does not plan on selecting more than eight defenders for the Euros, and will instead load his squad with attacking talent.
Southgate has already held talks with Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) and Michael Keane (R)
‘I don’t think we need it. In Russia, we played Kyle Walker in a back three. We have players who can play in more than one position. Luke Shaw has played in a three for Manchester United, so has Ben Chilwell.
‘It’s not essential to have more than eight defenders. The more we take, the less we have in other areas we might want to refresh.
‘Heading into the World Cup we were very clear we were going to be 3-5-2 and that we would pick the players to fit that system.
‘We’re a bit more fluid and adaptable now and we would like to cover some different possibilities. We have some exciting wide players and players who can come in off the line and play as an attacking No 8 or No 10.
‘We have different options in the creative areas. But we’ve got to find a way of getting them in.’
Southgate added that he may pick only eight defenders for his 23 man squad for the Euros