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Gareth Southgate explains Marcus Rashford, Jordan Henderson Euro 2024 snubs

Gareth Southgate explains Rashford, Henderson Euro 2024 snubs
© Reuters
Gareth Southgate explains his reasoning for omitting Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson from his 33-man training squad ahead of Euro 2024.

England manager Gareth Southgate has explained his reasoning for snubbing Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson from his 33-man Euro 2024 training squad.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Three Lions boss revealed his preliminary squad for the tournament in Germany, which for England begins with a clash against Serbia on June 16.

Two friendlies against Bosnia-Herzegovina (June 3) and Iceland (June 7) lie in wait before England board the plane, and Southgate must axe up to 10 players from his final selection.

However, the former Middlesbrough head coach already raised eyebrows with a couple of notable omissions, leaving Rashford and Henderson - who have 141 senior caps between them - out of his training troupe.

Rashford shone for Manchester United during the 2022-23 campaign but has struggled to hit the same heights in the 2023-24 season, only managing eight goals and five assists in 42 games across all tournaments.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 1, 2024© Reuters

Southgate: 'Other players have had better seasons'

The 26-year-old was also reprimanded by his club for taking an unsanctioned trip to Dublin and subsequently missing training through an apparent illness, while his on-field attitude has also been criticised this season.

Asked in his press conference about his reasoning behind omitting Rashford, who has struck 17 goals in 60 games for his country, Southgate simply explained that other attackers have were more impressive in 2023-24.

"These are of course difficult calls. You are talking about players that are very important players. With Marcus, in that area of the pitch, I feel that other players have had better seasons, it's as simple as that," the England boss said.

With Rashford watching on from home, the likes of Anthony Gordon, Eberechi Eze, Cole Palmer and James Maddison have benefitted from his absence to earn training call-ups, while Jack Grealish is included despite his own troubles this season.

As well as Rashford, 81-cap midfielder Henderson has also been overlooked for the European Championships after his Saudi Pro League saga and subsequent move back to Europe with Dutch giants Ajax.

Southgate blames injury for Henderson absence

England manager Gareth Southgate before the match on November 17, 2023© Reuters

Since leaving Liverpool for his brief stint with Al-Ettifaq, Henderson has sometimes been booed by Three Lions fans - acts that Southgate heavily condemned - but he has played just 12 games for Ajax since his winter transfer.

The 33-year-old missed the whole of April with a muscular injury, returning in time for Ajax's final three Eredivisie matches of the season, but Southgate explained that the midfielder was not able to regain his former rhythm after his time in the treatment room.

"The 33 isn't quite a fair definition because we're taking a longer squad with some younger players to look at. Hendo has given himself every chance," Southgate added.

"From the last camp, he missed five weeks through injury and he hasn't been able to get to that tempo since then. It's a big call to make. He will be a miss. He's an exceptional individual and fantastic human being. He's been in that leadership role for a long time."

England will also face Denmark and Slovenia in Euro 2024 Group C, clashing with the former on June 20 in Frankfurt, five days before meeting Slovenia in Cologne.

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Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 1, 2024
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Euro 2024 fixtures header
Tuesday, June 25
Wednesday, June 26
Saturday, June 29
Sunday, June 30
Monday, July 1
Tuesday, July 2
Friday, July 5
Saturday, July 6
Tuesday, July 9
Wednesday, July 10
Sunday, July 14
Tables header RHS

Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England21104
2 Denmark Denmark20202
3 Slovenia Slovenia20202
4 Serbia Serbia20111

Group D

Q Netherlands Netherlands21104
Q France France21104
3 Austria Austria21013
4 Poland Poland20020

Group E

1 Romania Romania21013
2 Belgium Belgium21013
3 Slovakia Slovakia21013
4 Ukraine Ukraine21013

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal22006
2 Turkey Turkey21013
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic20111
4 Georgia Georgia20111

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