Friday, June 7, 2024

England’s Euro 24 Roster Includes Some Surprises

England’s Euro 24 roster is final, and a surprising Premier League squad has captured the most roster spots. The four players from Crystal Palace represent the largest contingent from any one Premier League side. Eberechi Eze, Adam Wharton, Marc Guehi and goalkeeper Dean Hendersen survived the final cuts made by England Manager Gareth Southgate on Thursday. Eze and Wharton’s inclusion in the side ensured there was no room for, among others, Tottenham Hotspur’s James Maddison. A disappointed Maddison admitted his league campaign never rebounded from a prolonged mid-season injury absence.
While Tottenham Hotspur flagged in the season’s second half, the Eagles of Crystal Palace soared under new manager Oliver Glasner. Eze was central to that success and a fairly easy choice to make the England team. Wharton’s presence on the squad is more surprising. He joined Crystal Palace in January from Championship side Blackburn and soon found himself a regular in Glasner’s lineup, starting the final 15 Premier League matches for the Eagles. Wharton, who has been lauded by England Manager Gareth Southgate for his playmaking abilities, made his first senior appearance for England just this week versus Bosnia & Herzegovina. Guehi, meanwhile, could play a pivotal role for Southgate in Germany.

The England defense is problematic. Long time starting center back Harry Maguire is ruled out with a lingering calf injury. John Stones is on Southgate’s squad but is coming off a troubled season where he was both injured and seemingly out of favor with Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola. Maguire’s teammate at Manchester United, left back Luke Shaw, has not played since February. Chelsea’s perpetually injured defenders Reece James and Ben Chilwell did not even make the preliminary 33-man England squad let alone the final 26 chosen this week.

Guehi, although having only 10 caps for England, is a three-year starting regular in the Premier League and the favorite to step in for Maguire at the heart of Southgate’s defense. Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Liverpool’s Joe Gomez are other, less attractive, center back options making the cut.

The axing of promising young Everton center back Jarrad Branthwaite from the final squad raised some eyebrows considering the thin England central defense. Perhaps Southgate is of the mind that Brathwaite’s contributions are exaggerated in Sean Dyche’s overly defensive Everton scheme.

Meanwhile, the strength of the England side should be in attack. A wealth of riches in forwards and attacking midfielders has seen England veterans Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish both excluded from the Euros squad after poor Premier League seasons. Surprisingly, Southgate is carrying two strikers behind captain Harry Kane. Ollie Watkins’ outstanding season at Villa saw him trail only Chelsea’s Cole Palmer in combined Premier League goals and assists. Toney’s selection is a bit more surprising with the Brentford player finding the net only four times in a Premier League season abbreviated by a gambling suspension. Palmer’s explosive debut season for Chelsea was a surprise. His inclusion on the England squad is clearly far from it. Palmer’s Chelsea teammate Conor Gallagher will also be going to Germany, bolstering a midfield with questions. Long time mainstays Jordan Hendersen and Kalvin Philips are gone.

Wharton and Manchester United’s 19-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, both playing in their first major international tournament, are in. Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, a defender and hybrid sort, is a candidate to start in the midfield alongside Arsenal’s Declan Rice. Alexander-Arnold’s Liverpool teammates Curtis Jones and Jarrell Quansah along with Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford  joined Maddison, Grealish, Maguire and Branthwaite as the unlucky seven cut from the England roster this week. England begins Euro 24 play against Serba on Sunday June 16th.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment: