GOOD MORNING ENGLAND FANS
Gareth Southgate announced his final 26-man England squad for Euro 2020 yesterday.
The Three Lions boss named FOUR right-backs – Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and Reece James – and axed seven from his original 33-man group.
Jesse Lingard was one of the most surprising exclusions along with Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins.
The seven to be dropped were: Aaron Ramsdale, Ben Godfrey, Lingard, Watkins, Ben White, James Ward-Prowse and Mason Greenwood – who pulled out injured.
And asked how the rejected stars reacted, Southgate said: “James was brilliant. As was Jesse, as was Ollie. Totally professional, which is the character of the players.
“All of the players that are here will be on the standby list. We can only change now on the basis of injuries so those guys will be training with us. And they’ll be involved in the matches as well. Not only because if we have an issue they need to be ready.
“But they deserve it. Their commitment to stay with the group and their respect to their teammates to want to be here shows what playing for England means to this group of players.
“And I think it’s important the public know that as sometimes people dismiss the importance of England caps and what it means to players.”
Southgate confirmed Lingard would play in tonight’s friendly against Austria despite his omission.
He said: “Jesse did really well to get himself back in the race because back in January he was a million miles away from being considered for an England squad.
“I said in March that he’d had a fabulous few weeks but he was slightly fortunate because we were without three or four wide players at that time.
“He was excellent for West Ham and he plays so well for us – we have total trust in the way he plays.
“He’s reliable, he’s a great member of the group. He will play tomorrow because we’ve got [Jadon] Sancho ill, we’ve obviously got a lot of players not available and he’ll start to help the balance of the team.”
Elsewhere, Harry Maguire woke up every morning hoping his ankle pain had gone but still hopes to be fit for the Euros.
Speaking yesterday, Maguire, 28, was asked about his first thoughts as he sat on the turf waiting for medical attention at Villa Park after Anwar El Ghazi crunched him.
He said: “The fear that I had was missing everything. I knew it was quite a bad injury. When I got the results of the scan, I knew it would be unlikely I would make the Europa League final — but we also never ruled it out.
“I would jump out of bed and put weight on my ankle, which I probably should not have done, and test it to see if the pain was still there. Every morning, I woke up wishing the pain would be gone.
“Unfortunately, it was not to be. I knew for me to start the Europa League final was very unlikely but I hoped to play some part. However it was out of reach and just not possible. Ahead of the final, I could still not run on the ankle.
“But it is now improving and getting better, so I am just looking forward to the Euros.”