Euro 2020 squads to increase to 26 players as Southgate ponders England choices

Trent Alexander-Arnold and other players who fear missing out on Euro 2020 this summer will be boosted by the news that England should now be able to take a 26-man squad to the tournament.

National sides are usually only able to take 23 players to major competitions such as the World Cup and European Championship.

But on Tuesday it was reported UEFA’s national team committee has decided to increase the number to 26 due to the increase in demands because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It should now be ratified by UEFA’s ruling executive committee later this week.

Gareth Southgate had previously suggested he would prefer to stick with a squad of 23 but it will be good news to some players’ ears.

Alexander-Arnold was the most high-profile absentee from England’s recent victories over Poland, Albania and San Marino, following his decline in club form this season.

There have also been question marks over the inclusion of several other players.

England are spoilt for choice in the attacking positions and one of those many fans are hoping to see at Euro 2020 is Jack Grealish.

However, the Aston Villa captain has been out with a shin injury since mid-February.

The increase to a 26-man squad should increase the prospect of rising star Jude Bellingham making Euro 2020.

The former Birmingham City youngster is just 17 but has looked assured in his two England appearances so far and has played regularly for Borussia Dortmund this season.

Those hoping to make the squad have already been warned by Southgate that they will need to be on their best behaviour ahead of the tournament, after several England internationals have found themselves in hot water in recent months.

Speaking earlier this month, after James Maddison was axed from a squad by Leicester due to the midfielder attending a house party, Southgate said: “Coming into the summer we’ve got to make sure we arrive into the camp giving ourselves the best chance to focus on football and that helps to create a calmer environment for everybody to go into the tournament.

“I’m obviously very conscious that Leicester have dealt with the situation brilliantly and they’ve got a massive game on Sunday, so I don’t think I should talk about specifics.

“In the end we’ve had issues ourselves in the autumn. That’s always very difficult for coaches to deal with. It puts you in really difficult positions. I can only compare that with March where we came in with no dramas coming into the camp.

“It’s just a much better environment to prepare for football. We were only having to make football decisions, prepare the team, talk about football topics. I think for any coaching staff and any team, when we went into the tournament in Russia we had minimal distractions going into it.

“That’s something I talked to the players about after the autumn. In the autumn discipline off the pitch and on the pitch created really the biggest issues for us and meant we didn’t get to the semi-finals of the Nations League that we were desperate to be in.

“It still annoys me when I look at that line-up – Italy, Spain, Belgium, France. It’s a brilliant line-up and games you want to be involved in. One of the key areas was that we didn’t have availability of players at certain times for on and off the field misdemeanours.”

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