Gareth Southgate explains notable England squad exclusions and the ‘one gamble’ he had to take

Only time will tell if he's got it right.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 7th June 2024

Gareth Southgate officially named his squad for Euro 2024 on Thursday afternoon and there were some notable names left out, with the England manager explaining his reasons and why he had to take a ‘gamble’ on one player.

Releasing the final 26-man team earlier than planned after premature reports of Harry Maguire and Jack Grealish being cut proved to be true, the Manchester duo were among a number of key exclusions along with Marcus Rashford, James Maddison, Jadon Sancho and others.

Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live that the early release of the squad was because he simply “didn’t want to keep the players waiting until Friday”, adding it “would have been a mess” and “wouldn’t have been fair” on those not

Speaking in a press conference immediately after the announcement, the 53-year-old praised all of the players involved for taking the news “really respectfully” and went on to detail why some of the bigger names, in particular, weren’t retained.

While the decision to leave Maguire out was much simpler given his ongoing injury issues, having suffered with a recurring calf problem for months, the Three Lions boss went on to admit that it was tough to leave out players and that deliberations amongst his staff have been happening for weeks.


“Of course, players believe they should be in, and that’s why they are top players”, said Southgate. “They have self-belief and that mindset.

“But the fact is we have players who have been playing extremely well all season in the league, and we just feel other players have had stronger seasons, particularly in the last six months or so.” The likes of Cole Palmer, Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze and Kobbie Mainoo have all shone over the past year and managed to break into the national team.


Detailing that Jarell Quansah has been put on standby despite being dropped from the final England squad given the depleted numbers in defence, he did confess that taking Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw was the “one gamble” he felt comfortable taking, assuring that he’s hitting fitness goals.

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The reaction to the final Euros squad has been pretty mixed, with many criticising him for leaving out potential game-changers like Grealish and also for using up two places on a pair of backup strikers in Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney despite it being unlikely either will play.

However, as many have noted online, Southgate has long been bemoaned for picking players based on loyalty rather than form and despite seemingly having gone the other way this time, he is still facing criticism from the fans for finally taking that approach.


What about you – do you agree with the England squad Southgate has picked for Euro 2024?

You can watch his press conference along with the captain for the Iceland game, Declan Rice, in full down below:

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Featured Images — England/Sky Sports