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How England can line up for Euro 2024 opener as Maguire and Grealish miss out

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ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate dropped a huge shock with Harry Maguire missing out on the Euro 2024 squad.

Manchester City playmaker Jack Grealish and Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite were also axed when seven names were trimmed today.

Harry Maguire will not feature for England this summer

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Harry Maguire will not feature for England this summerCredit: Getty
Jack Grealish did not make the cut

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Jack Grealish did not make the cutCredit: Getty
Marc Guehi could step in for Harry Maguire

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Marc Guehi could step in for Harry Maguire

That leaves a hole to fill alongside John Stones at centre-back, with Maguire a stalwart during Southgate’s reign.

The Manchester United defender was expected to start but a calf issue that kept him out since April led to his surprise omission.

Maguire, 31, took to Instagram to break his silence after missing out on the tournament in Germany.

He wrote: “I am devastated not to have been selected to play for England at the Euros this summer.

“Despite my best efforts, I have not been able to overcome an injury to my calf. Maybe I pushed myself too hard, to try and make it. Simply, I am absolutely gutted.

“For me, representing England is the highest honour. It means everything to me. If I can’t help the team as a player, I will support them as a fan – along with the rest of the country. Go and win it boys.

“Next, I will return to the supervision of the Manchester United medical team in order to prepare for next season.”

Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi could be the man to step up in defence when the Three Lions face Serbia in their opener on June 16.

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Alternatively, Kyle Walker could slot in at centre-back with Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back.

Southgate is a big fan of the 4-2-3-1 but could also switch to a back five with Joe Gomez joining Stones and Walker at centre-back.

England can win Euro 2024 with these tactics
Kyle Walker can also plat at centre-back

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Kyle Walker can also plat at centre-back
Joe Gomez and Kyle Walker could flank John Stones

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Joe Gomez and Kyle Walker could flank John Stones

What Southgate said about axed England stars

WHAT Gareth Southgate said about his axed England stars after confirming his 26-man England squad for Euro 2024.

Harry Maguire

“The decision on Harry [Maguire] is totally about his physical condition and his recovery from the injury. There is no other reason as he is one of our strongest centre-backs.

“Harry has made some progress, but it’s been complicated and we wouldn’t have had him in the group stages. There were too many hurdles to get through without being clear where we might get to.

“Knowing we haven’t got a clean bill of health across the rest of the backline, we need players who are fit and ready to go from the start.

“It was a really difficult call, you know how I feel about Harry, what he’s done for England and for me as a manager. “

Jack Grealish and James Maddison

“Madders [Maddison] and Jack [Grealish] would have provided us with something different as well and they’ve been tough calls.

“They’re calls we’ve gone over and over and over as a group of staff to try to be fair and to try to use the right rationale.

“We back our decisions but we recognise we could have gone a different route. The boys are big characters, fabulous team-mates and great boys to work with.

“It’s sad to have to deliver that news to them.”

Jarrad Branthwaite

“It’s a bit early for Jarrad [Branthwaite]. He has had a fabulous season, it was good to get him on the pitch the other night.

“But of course, in an ideal world, you’d like that balance of left-footers. For him to be in ahead of the others, I don’t think it would have been the right call at this stage.”

Jarell Quansah

“Jarell Quansah has stayed with us. He’s not had the experience of an England international at Wembley. It’ll be great for him to be us for the game.

“Hopefully we’re not needing to call anyone else in.”

Jack Grealish was not expected to crack the starting line-up with Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden supporting talisman Harry Kane.

He paid the price for a lack of minutes, as well as the rise of Cole Palmer, Eberechi Eze and Jarrod Bowen.

James Maddison and Curtis Jones also left camp today after being informed they had not made the cut.

Maddison posted on X: “Devastated doesn’t quite cut it.

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“Trained well and worked hard all week but if I’m honest with myself, my form for Spurs when coming back from injury in the second half of the season probably wasn’t at the levels I had set which gave Gareth a decision to make.

“I still thought there would be a space for me in a 26-man squad as I feel I bring something different & had been a mainstay in this whole qualifying campaign for Euro 2024 in Germany but the manager has made the decision and I have to respect that.

“I’ll be back, I have no doubt. Wishing the boys all the luck in the world out in Germany, unbelievable group and lads that I literally call some of my best friends. I genuinely hope football comes home.”

This is a bold changing of the guard from Southgate… he’s never been afraid to be ruthless

GARETH SOUTHGATE has made a habit of taking ruthless calls during his eight years as England boss, writes Dave Kidd.

And his decision to axe Jack Grealish, as well as James Maddison, is further evidence of the Three Lions chief being unafraid to take big decisions with big-name players. 

Harry Maguire is also among the seven players left out for the squad to travel to Germany for the Euros, although the decision to omit the Manchester United centre-back is based on his failure to recover from injury. 

Southgate is, more than ever, picking on form.

Attacking midfielders such as Eberechi Eze, Jarrod Bowen, Cole Palmer and Anthony Gordon have been rewarded with call-ups for their excellent Premier League form, while Marcus Rashford, Maddison and Grealish all get the chop.

While the England boss is often regarded as an over-cautious nice guy, he took big decisions in getting rid of the likes of Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart and Chris Smalling at the start of his reign. 

Southgate also jettisoned Raheem Sterling last year after the Chelsea man had been a regular starter throughout most of his reign. 

And Jordan Henderson was left out of the 33-man preliminary squad having been a stalwart for Southgate throughout his previous three tournaments.  

Grealish has been a cause celebre for England fans – who have often accused Southgate of holding an agenda against him. 

But he has struggled for game-time with Manchester City all season, just as Maddison has been off-form since returning from injury at Spurs.

This is a bold changing of the guard from Southgate, who has relied heavily on Maguire, Henderson, Sterling and Rashford throughout his time in charge, while Grealish and Maddison are both popular flair players who fully expected to make the 26-man party for Germany.

Burnley keeper James Trafford, the Liverpool duo of Curtis Jones and Jarrell Quansah and Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite make up Southgate’s seven-man cull along with Grealish, Maddison and Maguire. 

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