Rashford left out of England’s provisional Euro 2024 squad

England manager Gareth Southgate omits Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford from his provisional Euro 2024 football squad.

Gareth Southgate and Marcus Rashford
England's Marcus Rashford with manager Gareth Southgate after being substituted at the Qatar 2022 World Cup [Marko Djurica//Reuters]

Forward Marcus Rashford was the most high-profile omission as England football manager Gareth Southgate named his provisional Euro 2024 squad on Tuesday while there was also no place for experienced midfielder Jordan Henderson.

Several uncapped players did make the provisional list of 33 including Liverpool duo Curtis Jones and Jarell Quansah, Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Crystal Palace’s Adam Wharton.

“Everybody has a chance,” Southgate said.

Southgate will cut his squad to 26 by the June 7 deadline.

The exclusions of Rashford and former Liverpool midfielder Henderson were the big surprises given the loyalty Southgate has shown them and their roles in previous tournament runs.

Rashford, 26, has earned 60 caps and scored 17 goals, including three at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But he has struggled for form this season, with only seven Premier League goals for Manchester United.

“These are difficult calls. With Marcus I just feel other players in that area have had better seasons. It’s as simple as that,” Southgate said.

“This has been as complicated a group as I can remember picking.”

Manchester United forward wishes England ‘the best’

Rashford posted an Instagram message to the team minutes after Tuesday’s announcement, saying “Wishing Gareth and the boys all the best for the up and coming tournament.”

Henderson may also be considering his international future after his decision to join the Netherlands’ AFC Ajax after a short spell with Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq did not pay off with a call-up.

“Hendo picked up an injury around the last camp and missed five weeks and hasn’t been able to get to the intensity in the games since then,” Southgate said.

Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling also missed out, but his teammate Cole Palmer was included after a superb season.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw makes the provisional squad despite the left back being out for a lengthy period with injury.

England are widely regarded as favourites for the tournament in Germany after reaching the final of Euro 2020. There is also the fact that they have arguably the most talented batch of players in recent times, with the likes of Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka all enjoying sensational club seasons.

“Phil has played off the right and left, but the key is where he ends up, not his starting position. At City, he’s able to drift and it’s the same as us,” Southgate said of Foden.

“Jude has played all season as a number 10 and sometimes, has defended on the left. It’s all about where they end up.

“We don’t pin players to a touchline, that’s not how we work.”

A further Manchester United duo breathe a sigh of relief in defence

While England boast a formidable attacking threat, there are concerns about their defence, which is perhaps why Southgate is prepared to look at new candidates before he has to make his final call for the tournament.

Southgate has remained loyal to Manchester United’s Harry Maguire while his teammate Shaw remains a “long shot” because of a muscle injury that has sidelined him since February.

“[Shaw] is up against it but the fact that he has been our first choice [left back] means we are giving a bit longer than we might have done,” Southgate said.

The inclusion of Quansah, Branthwaite and Marc Guehi gives Southgate defensive options.

“If we picked tomorrow, we might end up taking 12 defenders as we have so many questions,” the manager added. “But we would rather not do that. In a couple of weeks, things will be far clearer.”

Wharton, 20, has been rewarded for an impressive season with Crystal Palace while Jack Grealish, despite conceding that he has been below his best for champions Manchester City this season, is still in the frame for a role in Germany.

England play two friendly matches – against Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 3 at St James’ Park and against Iceland on June 7 at Wembley – before heading to the Euros, where they are in a group with Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia.

England’s provisional Euro 2024 squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, James Trafford

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite, Lewis Dunk, Joe Gomez, Marc Guehi, Ezri Konsa, Harry Maguire, Jarell Quansah, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher, Curtis Jones, Kobbie Mainoo, Declan Rice, Adam Wharton

Forwards: Jude Bellingham, Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Anthony Gordon, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Cole Palmer, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies