Gareth Southgate ‘still discussing’ final Euro 2024 squad with England staff

England boss Gareth Southgate says he has a lot to consider as he prepares to name his final Euro 2024 squad straight after Friday’s last warm-up friendly against Iceland.

The build-up to this summer’s tournament in Germany continued with Monday’s 3-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina at a sold-out St James’ Park.

England immediately left for London as attention turns to facing Iceland in a final friendly before kicking off their Euros campaign against Serbia on June 16.

But Friday is about far more than their Wembley send-off as, just over an hour after the final whistle, Southgate has to cut his 33-man training group to a tournament squad of 26.

“We’re still discussing that as a staff,” Southgate said when asked about the plans around submitting his selection by UEFA’s 11pm deadline.

“In terms of Friday, obviously we have another three players (Kobbie Mainoo, Phil Foden and Kyle Walker) who report (on Tuesday) when we get down to London.

“We didn’t think there was any point in them reporting earlier and then being able to do very little and then travelling again, so we gave them an extra day.

“They’ll all come into the reckoning for the game on Friday and similar objectives, really.

“We want to build on the performance. Physically it’s an important game for players, even players that have played a lot of football.

“They still need that rhythm of playing matches, so Friday becomes an important exercise for us.”

Cole Palmer scored the opening goal of the game from a penalty on Monday
Cole Palmer scored the opening goal of the game from a penalty on Monday (Mike Egerton/PA)

Pushed on the practicalities of Friday and whether he will tell players after the game, Southgate said: “I’ll work that through with the staff over the next few days and we’ll decide what we think is the best way of doing that.”

It is little wonder Southgate was coy given how much he is mulling over as he looks to strike the right balance with his final cut.

Whether to take long-serving defenders Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw is a big decision as the pair recover from their respective muscle injuries, so too how best to fill attacking slots.

Jack Grealish’s place has come under pressure during a frustrating season at Manchester City, but he produced a lively performance off the bench against Bosnia having linked up with England early.

“There’s 33 who are desperate to be involved and we know the qualities that he has and absolutely what he’s capable of doing,” Southgate said. “That’s not in any question.

“As I said (before), he’s a player that we love having with the group and, for us, he’s a great character to work with.”

As part of shaping his selection, Southgate has actively tried to manage expectations of younger players in a training squad featuring five uncapped members.

Adam Wharton was among them and, like Jarrad Branthwaite, made his senior England debut off the bench against Bosnia.

The 20-year-old has shone since joining Crystal Palace from Blackburn in February and the midfielder has underlined his credentials during an impressive first England camp.

“Well, there’s no question he’s impressed us,” Southgate said. “Why did we bring him in? We saw things in his performances for his club.

“The biggest thing for us is that ability to see a picture and play forward early. That sounds really simple but that hasn’t been so simple for us over seven, eight years, that type of player.

Adam Wharton made his England debut against Bosnia
Adam Wharton made his England debut against Bosnia (Mike Egerton/PA)

“There’s a lot still ahead of him, there’s a lot of adjustment but I think the other players have recognised his quality.

“You know, very quickly when you see the positions they take, the way they interact on the training pitch, you know when players see something.

“Whenever we call a new player in, they always doubt what we’re doing because they think we haven’t got a clue what we’re doing.

“And then they work with these youngsters, and they go ‘ah, OK, right now we see why’ because we obviously watch them far more than everybody else.”

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