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England's alternative 26-man squad of axed stars that could still win Euro 2024

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ENGLAND would still be considered one of the favourites for Euro 2024 even with a squad made up of those stars left out.

Ruthless Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, 53, confirmed the seven players that he had cut from his provisional 33-man squad.

Gareth Southgate announced his England squad for Euro 2024 on Thursday

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Gareth Southgate announced his England squad for Euro 2024 on ThursdayCredit: Getty

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It had already emerged that James Maddison had left the camp after learning that he had been omitted while Liverpool duo Curtis Jones and Jarell Quansah also missed out – although the latter has remained with the squad on standby.

Back-up goalie James Trafford was then cut, with Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson selected as Southgate’s goalkeepers.

But then the big bombshell dropped that experienced duo Harry Maguire and Jack Grealish were left out.

Manchester United star Maguire, 31, had already been a doubt – having not played since April due to a calf issue – and the 63-cap defender lost his fitness race.

Grealish, meanwhile, was a more surprise omission despite him being limited to just 10 Premier League starts last term after falling out of favour with boss Pep Guardiola at Man City.

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite was the seventh player to get cut – but a host more hopefuls also missed out completely.

Here we take a look at the impressive list of English players that will not be heading to Germany – and this alternative squad would certainly still pack a punch at the Euros.

Newcastle goalie Nick Pope’s dislocated shoulder injury in December all-but ended his hopes, and despite returning for their final game, he failed to convince Southgate of his fitness as he missed out with Trafford.

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No eyebrows would have been raised had any of the Chelsea defensive trio Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Levi Colwill had been included, despite their own injury issues.

And Man City’s Rico Lewis, Bayern Munich’s Eric Dier and AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori could easily have also got in – although there has seemingly been no kissing and making up between the England camp and Arsenal’s Ben White.

‘You know what he’s done for me’ – Emotional Gareth Southgate reveals why he left Harry Maguire out of England squad

Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling are two of the most experienced not to go along with Newcastle forward Callum Wilson.

Throw in the likes of Champions League finalist Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham along with Grealish and Maddison, this alternative group would definitely have provided plenty of goal threat as well.

When asked whether the squad announcement was among his most difficult days as manager, Southgate said: “No question.

“We’re a close team and every player and staff has felt the last couple of days with this decision looming.

“We have tried to [make decisions] respectively, and understand it will be a devastating blow for them and their team-mates.

“But we’ve got that balance for excitement and a bit of remorse along the way.”

Then, on leaving out Maguire and Grealish out in particular, he added: “We’ve got some players who have been playing extremely well all season in the league and we feel other players have had stronger seasons, particularly in the last six months or so.

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“Attacking areas, in particular, we’re blessed with a lot of options, and some different.

“Madders and Jack offer something different… we back our decisions but acknowledge we could have gone in another direction.”

We will see how those selected perform under the expectations of a nation in Germany when they kick off their Euro 2024 group stage against Serbia on June 16.

They then face Denmark four days later before playing their final group match on June 25 against Slovenia.

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