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Wharton & Eze named in England squad for Euro 2024

Adam Wharton and Eberechi Eze

Crystal Palace pair Eberechi Eze and Adam Wharton have been named in England's squad for Euro 2024, with Jack Grealish, Harry Maguire and James Maddison among those left out.

Winger Eze, 25, has only gained three caps for the Three Lions but impressed in Monday's 3-0 friendly win over Bosnia-Herzegovina at St James' Park.

Midfielder Wharton, 20, came on as a substitute in that match for his first international appearance.

Earlier on Thursday, it was revealed Manchester City forward Grealish, Manchester United centre-back Maguire and Tottenham playmaker Maddison had been left out of Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad.

Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford, Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah, Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones also miss out after being named in the original 33-player shortlist.

It means Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw, who has not played any football since mid-February because of a hamstring injury, has been included.

England play Iceland in a friendly on Friday at Wembley - their last match before the tournament in Germany begins on Friday, 14 June.

However, 21-year-old Quansah will remain with the squad for the game against Iceland incase of any further injury problems in defence.

"Luke has progressed really well in the last couple of days and we think he could have some involvement in the second group game," said Southgate.

"You can take one gamble and that's a calculated gamble where we have enough evidence we believe it can pay off."

A 'devastating blow' for those left out of squad - Southgate

Harry Maguire and Jack Grealish in Premier League action
Harry Maguire has played 63 times for England with Jack Grealish earning 36 caps [Getty Images]

Speaking at a news conference, Southgate said picking the squad was "one of the most difficult parts of the job" and added: "We're a close team and for everybody - the players, the staff - over the last couple of days these decisions were looming, but we felt we were able to make better decisions by giving us more time.

"That meant people were waiting for bad news and we tried to do that as respectfully and with as much on the human side as possible. For the players not coming with us, it's a devastating blow and a difficult day for them and for their team-mates."

Maguire had been a key figure for England in their performances in the past three major tournaments where Southgate's side reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, the final of Euro 2020 and the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup.

On Maguire, who missed United's FA Cup final win over City through injury, Southgate said: "He has made some progress but it has been complicated. We definitely wouldn't have had him in the group stages and given we have not got a clean bill of health across the rest of the backline, we needed players that are fit and ready to go from the start."

On the decisions to leave out Maddison and Grealish, Southgate added: "All the players took the decisions respectfully and all the players believe they should be in, that's why they're all top players with that mindset. We have some players that have performed extremely well this season and other players have had stronger seasons.

"In the attacking positions we're blessed with a lot of options and Madders and Jack give us something different. They were tough calls, but we back our decisions but recognise we could've gone a different route. It was sad to have to deliver that news to them."

Rice praises 'top level' Wharton

England captain Harry Kane with Adam Wharton and Declan Rice
England captain Harry Kane (left) with Adam Wharton (centre) and Declan Rice [Getty Images]

Wharton started the 2023-24 season playing in the Championship for Blackburn Rovers before he moved to Palace on transfer deadline day in February for £18m.

He has only played in the Premier League 17 times but impressed as Palace ended the season strongly to finish 10th in the table.

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice said he had liked what he had seen from the youngster.

"He's top level," said Rice. "He sees a pass early, left and right foot. It's impressive the way he passes a ball. Whether it's five or 10 yards, there's just a crispness to it. Really impressive. Calm, composed, relaxed.

"But he's 20-years-old, it's his first tournament. It's so important we don’t put too much pressure on him. Let him flourish and England are going to have an amazing midfielder for the next 10 to 15 years. The future's looking bright for England in midfield."

Southgate's side start their Euro 2024 campaign with a Group C game against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on 16 June, before games against Denmark on 20 June and Slovenia on 25 June.

England have never won the men's European Championship, but lost 3-2 to Italy in a penalty shootout at Wembley in the last final in July 2021.

"It's an open tournament and we're excited about our prospects," said Southgate. "We're experienced but know we have to deliver in these moments. We're excited about what we have. There's a lot of experience in the group in tournaments and in big matches with their clubs."

England's squad for Euro 2024

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).

Defenders: Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Kobbie Mainoo (Manchester United), Declan Rice (Arsenal), Adam Wharton (Crystal Palace).

Forwards: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).

Dropped from original 33-man shortlist: James Trafford (Burnley, goalkeeper), Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton, defender), Jarell Quansah (Liverpool, defender), Harry Maguire (Manchester United, defender), Curtis Jones (Liverpool, midfielder), Jack Grealish (Manchester City, forward), James Maddison (Tottenham, forward).

Pick your England side for Euro 2024