Euro 2020 – Good news for Grealish? 3 English players should benefit from switching to teams of 26 players
UEFA have confirmed a 26-man squad increase for this summer’s European Championship – so what does that mean for England?
The rule change is being made to mitigate the risks of teams facing a shortage of available players for certain matches due to possible cases of Covid-19 and subsequent quarantine measures.
The day’s teams will remain at 23 players, in accordance with Law 3 of the IFAB Laws of the Game allowing a maximum of 12 substitutes to be appointed for national team A matches, including three goalkeepers.
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In March, England coach Gareth Southgate named a 26-man squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland, with three goalkeepers, 10 defenders, seven midfielders and seven forwards.
Southgate would presumably have cut a player from each field position to make his 23-man squad, but he is no longer faced with that dilemma. Instead, he must decide which players deserve to hold onto their places from March and who forced them back into contention.
Southgate’s 26-player squad in March
- Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Nick Pope (Burnley)
- Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones ( Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
- Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham United, on loan from Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham United), James Ward -Browse (Southampton)
- Attackers: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
English players who could benefit from it
After impressing at the fall internationals, Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish had sought a boost for the team until recent injury issues stalled his impressive season.
Jack Grealish of England reacts during the UEFA Nations League group stage game between Belgium and England
Image Credit: Getty Images
If Grealish is able to prove his fitness in the final month of the Premier League, Southgate may well believe he is worth being selected for the Euros – and this squad expansion could help the cause of the player as he seems ready to challenge Bukayo Saka for a place in the squad.
Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden will be the other great options, hoping they’ve already secured their spots safely, condition permitting.
Jordan Henderson’s physical form could have a say in which central midfielders make the final cup, but the expansion could see Southgate appoint another player to the post.
Jude Bellingham of England during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Qualifying match between England and San Marino
Image Credit: Getty Images
This could benefit Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, as well as Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse. The pair are arguably on the sidelines of Southgate’s thoughts for the upcoming tournament, but now they can both be part of the squad.
Bellingham has dazzled in recent Champions League outings for Dortmund, while Ward-Prowse’s prowess makes him an attractive option for England. If Henderson is in good shape and Southgate picks just one, however, it might just be Bellingham who gets the nod.
England’s strongest position is at right-back, as Trent Alexander-Arnold learned in March when he was excluded from the squad.
Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James were all picked ahead of the Liverpool defender, and given the squad remain at 26, it looks like three of those four players will be part of the Euro final squad.
Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold of England watch during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Denmark and England at Parken Stadium on September 8, 2020 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Image Credit: Getty Images
It saves Southgate the sticky situation of picking just two – a potential conundrum if the team were 23 – but it still leaves the England manager with a headache, with a player ready for a disappointing phone call .
Alexander-Arnold is hoping his recent form will earn him some positive news when Southgate makes his way through his contacts.
Honorable mentions: The announcement also strengthens the prospects of both TyroneMings and ConorCoady make the team. Southgate may have had to choose between the two center-backs, who are set for roles on the bench with Harry Maguire and John Stones set to start.
JesseLingard Also hopes his West Ham form will see him retain his place in the England squad from March. Southgate had admitted that the Manchester United lender suffered injuries on his appeal last time around, but with nine goals in 12 league appearances for West Ham, the 28-year-old is doing his best to prove he deserves a place in the Euros team. on merit.
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