Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins were among the six names cut from England manager Gareth Southgate’s Euros squad as Trent Alexander-Arnold got the nod.
The Three Lions boss last week made the decision to name a provisional 33-man squad rather than his final 26-strong selection due to players’ injury concerns and continental cup final commitments.
Southgate has now finalised his Euro 2020 selection, trimming six players after Mason Greenwood withdrew through injury on the morning of the announcement.
Lingard, Ward-Prowse and Watkins missed out along with the uncapped trio of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben Godfrey and Ben White.
Lingard’s outstanding start to life on loan from Manchester United at West Ham saw him brought in from the cold in March’s World Cup qualification triple-header.
The 28-year-old played a part in all three of those matches but Southgate indicated in the build-up that he was there due to the absence of the injured Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho.
Southampton skipper Ward-Prowse played in two of those games and had been due to start the third until withdrawing through injury and has missed the cut, as he did for the 2019 Nations League finals.
Aston Villa striker Watkins scored on his debut against San Marino but was behind Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the pecking order.
Alexander-Arnold was selected as one of four right-backs, joining Kieran Trippier, Reece James and Kyle Walker in the 26-man squad.
Southgate said on England’s YouTube channel: “I think every squad is difficult because we have a lot of talented players in this country.
“The most difficult thing is to not be able to take players who’ve been with us in previous matches and who are such good professionals.
“So, I know what a disappointment that is for them at the moment not to be going to a major championship.
“But we still have two friendlies to get to, and there’s been plenty of examples over the years where there have been injuries in those friendlies that have ruled people out.
“So there’s still time for those guys even though they’re not in at this moment in time.”
Southgate also has fitness concerns over two key players named in the squad.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has not played since undergoing groin surgery in February and Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire sustained an ankle ligament injury last month.
“The most complex part this time has been those injuries and whether we should take the chance on people,” Southgate said.
“We’ve clearly, with Jordan and with Harry Maguire, we’ve got a couple of players who are not where we’d be ideally in terms of their physical prep.
“But we think that the experience they have, the fact that we think we can get them to a point where they can have an involvement in the tournament, it’s worth taking them, especially as we’ve got an extended squad of 26.”
The England boss revealed Ramsdale, White and Godfrey were aware they were called up to be part of the squad for the two pre-tournament friendlies.
“You never want to give bad news,” he said of informing those who had not made the cut.
“It is lovely to give people debuts and bring people into the squad for the first time but it is much harder to deliver bad news.
“This time, there were three boys who knew they were coming in for the experience of training with us and for these two matches, and who knows what might happen and they have trained really well.”
Asked about Ward-Prowse, Lingard and Watkins, Southgate said he had offered them the chance to leave the group once he broke the bad news – but praised the trio for deciding to stay.
“Mason Greenwood unfortunately had to pull out on Friday so we knew he wasn’t a contender for the last few games,” he added.
“For me personally, it was very difficult to speak to Jesse, who has given so much to England, has performed so well for England over a long period of time, James Ward-Prowse who has been captain of the Under-21s and then Ollie Watkins, who had a tremendous season with Aston Villa.
“Those three, I gave them the option of going home if they wanted to but they were all adamant they would want to stay and be a part of the group.
“They know that they will be involved in these two matches. I think Jesse will probably start tomorrow.
“Their commitment has been exemplary and their professionalism has been brilliant and meant that yesterday afternoon when I had the conversations with those players, although they were disappointed they knew where they stood and it has meant the atmosphere around the camp has stayed positive and very relaxed.”