Saturday, June 22, 2024

England provisional Euro 2024 squad: Jordan Henderson’s Ajax move fails to pay as Marcus Rashford loses out

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Henderson’s Ajax move hasn’t paid off

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England manager Gareth Southgate explains why he has left Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson out of his provisional squad for the Euros and why he has named a larger group ahead of his final decision.

For many years, Jordan Henderson has been an England stalwart, being included in the squad for the last six major tournaments. There’s no denying he has brought leadership and quality to a midfield that has sometimes lacked both.

And even when there were deafening calls for Henderson to not be selected during his brief stint in Saudi Arabia, he still received call-ups.

Henderson was booed by England fans in October and criticised by LGBTQ+ groups, yet Southgate stayed the course. When calling up the midfield in September, the manager said: “I don’t really know why a player would receive an adverse reaction because of where he plays.”

Jordan Henderson, Ajax
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Jordan Henderson moved to Ajax in January in a bid to boost his chances of making England’s Euro 2024 squad

Ultimately, life at Al-Ettifaq did not work out for Henderson, whose contract was terminated by mutual consent in January. Henderson returned to Europe with Ajax in a bid to improve his chances for Euro 2024, keeping him in touch with the England squad.

But it hasn’t work out for the midfielder. He played just nine games as the club finished fifth in the Eredivisie. Now, he finds himself not included in the provisional squad, let alone the final 26.

We have reached a point where Southgate simply cannot ignore Henderson’s drop-off in form. There are midfielders playing regularly in the Premier League and La Liga who will be far more effective this summer.

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With expected news of Jordan Henderson being left out of Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 provisional squad, is this the end of the midfielder’s England career?

Sky Sports News’ Rob Dorsett said he expected Henderson to be in the squad to aid with leadership on and off the pitch, but Southgate must feel that he has enough of that in the 33-player provisional squad already.

Our senior reporter also questioned whether this is the end of Henderson’s England career. Given he will turn 34 the day after the Three Lions’ opener against Slovakia, you would imagine the March internationals were his final games in that famous white shirt.

Rashford pays price for loss of form

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Paul Merson shares his thoughts on Gareth Southgate excluding Marcus Rashford from his provisional Euro 2024 England squad.

Marcus Rashford shone at the World Cup in 2022, scoring three goals in only 137 minutes and leaving fans to wonder why Gareth Southgate didn’t turn to him sooner during the quarter-final loss to France in which he only came on in the 85th minute.

Those starring appearances came in the middle of a dazzling individual season in which Rashford smashed 30 goals for Manchester United in all competitions, earning their Player of the Year award and a new five-year contract at Old Trafford.

How quickly things have changed. Less than a year on, Rashford, seemingly facing an uncertain future at Manchester United, is on the outside again, with England boss Southgate finding no room for him even in his 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2024.

Southgate had stuck by Rashford even as he fell well below last season’s standards in the first half of the campaign, naming him in his squads in September, October, November and March. But his form has continued to deteriorate. Ultimately, he has paid the price.

Wharton: Blackburn to England in less than four months

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Having started the season in the Championship with Blackburn and then impressing at Crystal Palace – Adam Wharton has now been included in Gareth Southgate’s provisional squad for the Euros

This is turning out to be Adam Wharton’s year – something few would have seen coming in the middle of January.

After joining Crystal Palace from Blackburn on February 1, Wharton now finds himself called up to England’s provisional squad. It’s unlikely he will go to Germany, or even pick up minutes in the two pre-tournament friendlies, but his journey this season is nothing short of incredible.

Wharton’s performances for Crystal Palace have been outstanding. A number of players have flourished under Oliver Glasner, and the 20-year-old is one of them.

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Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish pays tribute to Dean Henderson, Eberechi Eze, Adam Wharton and Marc Guehi who have all been called up to Gareth Southgate’s provisional England squad and says it is reward for a remarkable end to the season.

His passing, movement, positioning and abilities on and off the ball have caught Southgate’s eye, with the midfielder only having made his England U21 debut in March. Such is his form, Wharton is already been linked with a £60m move to Bayern Munich.

Whirlwind is an understatement. Wharton, along with another new England call-ups, is clearly seen as the future.

And whether they end up on the plane or not, the experience will be invaluable. With the next tournament just two years away, Wharton will surely now be aiming for a spot in the 2026 World Cup squad.

Is this England’s ‘changing of the guard’ moment?

Kobbie Mainoo and Cole Palmer could play in their first major senior tournament this summer
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Kobbie Mainoo and Cole Palmer could play in their first major senior tournament this summer

Southgate’s squad has a changing of the guard feel about it.

As Sky Sports News’ senior report Dorsett added: “A number of people have said Southgate is too cautious, he doesn’t use enough players who are in form and playing well for their clubs… I don’t think you can level that accusation at him now.”

Omissions for the likes on Henderson, Rashford, Ben Chilwell and Reece James, and the inclusion on uncapped players like Wharton, Curtis Jones and Jarell Quansah – even provisionally – offers a glimpse of where Southgate sees the future of this squad.

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Watch Eberechi Eze’s best goals for Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

While experience will still be key for one of the tournament favourites, there is starting to be a move towards the next generation. If they make the final 26, the likes of Cole Palmer and Eberechi Eze will have the chance of playing in their first major tournaments.

There had to be a move towards these new names sooner rather than later as every team evolves, and it looks like Euro 2024 is that marker.

Whether it could also be the end of Southgate’s tenure with England remains to be seen, but the future is certainly looking bright.

What’s next for England? The key dates

All times BST

Monday June 3 – International friendly, England vs Bosnia and Herzegovina at St James’ Park, kick-off 7.4pm

Friday June 7 – international friendly, England vs Iceland at Wembley, kick-off 7.45pm

Friday June 7 – Final 26-player squad submitted to UEFA

Saturday June 8 – Final 26-player squad announced

Monday June 10 – England squad fly to Germany

Saturday June 16 – Serbia vs England, Gelsenkirchen, kick-off 8pm

Thursday June 20 – Denmark vs England, Frankfurt, kick-off 5pm

Tuesday June 25 – England vs Slovenia, kick-off 8pm

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