Gareth Southgate has already started having “horrible conversations” with players as he prepares to make heartbreaking decisions ahead of the Euros.
Southgate revealed he has already spoken to some players to let them know where they stand before naming his 23 man squad next month ahead of this summer’s tournament.
Big name players like James Maddison, Eric Dier and Trent Alexander-Arnold are already sweating on their places for the Euros with huge competition for places.
England boss Southgate said: “That of course is a difficult message, very difficult and nobody looks forward to that.
“Whether it’s for one squad or for a big tournament, of course it will feel worse for the players because it’s a big tournament but the reality is whenever you’re delivering that difficult news, it’s a horrible conversation to be having.
“But I’ve always got to remember that it’s worse for those receiving it than it is for those giving it, so you’ve got to have that empathy with how the players are feeling.
“I’ve spoken to quite a few already this week and I will do over the next couple of weeks, so that they know exactly where they sit because I think that’s helpful.
“You’ve got to manage expectations and have some reality about what they might need to do between now and the end of the season.”
Southgate was part of the 1998 World Cup squad when Paul Gascoigne was famously axed by Glenn Hoddle and wrecked a hotel room.
Therefore, Southgate will know the devastation caused for players if they miss out – and that could be a big distraction, especially if they get a reprieve because of injuries and withdrawals.
UEFA have been discussing allowing nations to name bigger squads because of the unique nature of the pandemic and how it will affect the tournament.
But Southgate has been clear that he does not want to have a larger squad – and then have to leave players out and would prefer just to name 23 as he believes that helps togetherness and unity.
Southgate added: “Everybody is so close and the group this week, it is so important. It’s not something anybody sees outside the camp, but when 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 and accept playing your part and accept not playing the number of minutes.
“That is critical and the group this week had that and that was very important to us getting nine points when a lot of other big countries weren’t able to do that.”