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Gareth Southgate, manager of England’s national team, stated that for Euro 2024, he will need to make fewer risky decisions compared to the previous two tournaments.
Next year’s tournament will experience a shift back to usual circumstances following the postponed, Covid-affected Euro 2020 and an unprecedented winter World Cup in Qatar.
UEFA has confirmed that for the upcoming tournaments in Germany, teams will return to selecting 23 players instead of the increased 26-man squads that were introduced previously.
“The thought process is altered because we’ve had the flexibility in recent tournaments to select players who may not have been fully fit for the initial games,” stated England manager Southgate.
“Perhaps providing some protection in specific positions that may or may not have been necessary.”
“The physical fitness of players will be crucial this time around, as they will need to have the capacity to play six or seven games consecutively.”
“We have firsthand experience from two tournaments that the physical demands are much greater than we initially anticipated. Therefore, we understand the immense level of physical requirements that must be met.”
Having the ability to take two players for each position is useful, so having adaptable players or players who can play multiple positions is beneficial.
“However, we must also carefully consider players who may be physically susceptible.”
Southgate was able to include Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire in the expanded squad for Euro 2020. Henderson had been out of play since February due to a groin surgery, while Maguire had been sidelined for six weeks due to an ankle injury. However, both players were able to return for England’s final group game and Henderson even went on to earn a place in the tournament’s team of the tournament.
Regarding Qatar, Southgate managed to select both Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips despite their recent surgeries for groin and shoulder injuries, respectively.
When questioned about the fitness requirements for players to travel to Germany, he responded: “Not necessarily all 23.”
“We have to be more cautious this time compared to the previous two tournaments, as we had a limit of 26 gambles.”
Long-serving number one Jordan Pickford is sure to be a key part of the squad next summer and is away with England at a time when his club side are in the headlines.
Before Friday’s 2-0 victory against Malta, it was declared that Everton would have 10 points deducted due to violating financial regulations set by the Premier League.
“I have not yet discussed this with Jordan,” stated Southgate before Monday’s last Euro 2024 qualifying match against North Macedonia. “The current speculation is uncertain, so we will need to wait and see if anything unfolds.”
“He has handled the challenges of two challenging seasons at Everton, where the team has consistently ranked towards the bottom of the league.”
If the final verdict is as mentioned, there may be an appeal. In that case, it’s a situation he has already experienced and has been a significant contributor in.