London – England manager Gareth Southgate named four right backs including Trent Alexander-Arnold in his final 26-man squad for the European championship on Tuesday after dropping in-form attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard and five other players.
Defenders Ben Godfrey and Ben White, goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, forward Ollie Watkins and midfielder James Ward-Prowse failed to make the cut.
Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood was withdrawn earlier due to an underlying injury to whittle the squad down from a provisional 33 named a week ago.
The dropped players will remain in the squad for pre-tournament friendlies in Middlesbrough against Austria on Wednesday and Romania on Sunday.
“We’ve still got two matches to play which they will be involved in and if we pick up injuries that group of players are the ones who are on standby,” said Southgate, adding that Lingard was likely to start against Austria.
Teams competing in Euro 2020 can make unlimited replacements before their first match due to serious injury or illness.
Lingard, a regular at the 2018 World Cup, stood out at West Ham United on loan from Manchester United but England have a wealth of talent up front.
“For me personally, it was very difficult to speak to Jesse, who has given so much to England and has performed so well for England over a long period of time,” said Southgate.
The manager said he gave Lingard, James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins the option of going home but all wanted to remain in the camp.
Injured duo Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson were both included and 15 of the 26 will be getting their first senior international tournament experience.
Southgate said it would be tight for Manchester United captain Maguire, on the bench for last week’s Europa League final, to make the opening game.
Alexander-Arnold will face competition from Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James although all are versatile.
“Yes, we have four players who play sometimes at right back for their clubs,” said Southgate.
“Basically they are in our best 26 footballers and that’s why they are in the squad and if I could have picked a fifth or a sixth right back I probably would have done.
“We are here to play nine games and already have some injury doubts in the group. I’m sure we’re going to face other difficulties over the next five weeks so we need adaptability, we need good players, good professionals.”
The June 11-July 11 Euro 2020 is being held across Europe, with semi-finals and the final at London’s Wembley Stadium as well as some group stage games.
England’s Euro 2020 Group D campaign starts with games against Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic.
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 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), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham United)
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane(Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) — Reuters