GARETH SOUTHGATE has told England’s crocks there is no room for Euros passengers.

Squads for next year’s finals will return to the usual 23-man size after nations got to take 26 to Euro 2020 and Qatar 2022 due to the Covid pandemic.

Gareth Southgate admits he will not be able to take risks with squad selection ahead of the Euros


Gareth Southgate admits he will not be able to take risks with squad selection ahead of the EurosCredit: Getty

England know from bitter experience the cost of taking unfit stars to major tournaments.

Captain David Beckham went to the 2002 World Cup weeks after breaking a metatarsal.

The Three Lions lost in the quarter-finals and assistant boss Tord Grip later said Beckham was only  75 per cent fit.

Wayne Rooney also admitted he should not have gone to the 2006 World Cup after breaking foot bones in the build-up.

He tore his groin in training but  battled on until he was sent off for fouling Ricardo Carvalho in a last-eight loss to Portugal.

Questions were even asked about current skipper Harry Kane and his ankles following a couple of sluggish performances at the start of Euro 2020.

Southgate says the return to 23-man squads means he will be able to take fewer risks with the party he takes to Germany, putting many players on alert.

The Three Lions manager  said: “Those who play more than one position are helpful.

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“But players who are physically vulnerable, we will have to think very carefully about.

“I wouldn’t say all 23 have to be fit to get on the plane but we can take far fewer gambles than we could for the last two tournaments, where it was 26.”

That should ring  alarm bells with players like Reece James.

The Chelsea captain decided he was not ready to return to England duty this month after his own injury problems.

But with Kieran Trippier able to play both full-back positions and Trent Alexander-Arnold offering a midfield option, James could miss out.

Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell will also be concerned.

If Manchester United’s Luke Shaw recovers from his own long-term problems, he will be first-choice left-back and there might not be room for another specialist in that position.

Tottenham’s James Maddison went to Qatar despite carrying a knee problem and ended up not playing a minute.

Despite fine form, Maddison’s new ankle knock may put him in the “physically vulnerable” category.

Arsenal and England fans are also concerned about Bukayo Saka because he keeps playing despite picking up niggles and being roughed up by opponents.

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On Saka, Southgate said: “He does invite contact at times because he receives well when he’s tightly marked.

“He is very important to us and  his club and is crucial to them being successful.”

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The Sun

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