Three Lions without star names for warm-up fixtures due to European Cup finals

An all-English Champions League final and Manchester United’s likely progression to the Europa League final will mean Gareth Southgate is likely to have 11 players missing from England’s final warm-up games.

If Arsenal can overcome their 2-1 deficit tonight against Villarreal, it could be up to 13 players absent – making up for half of his entire squad. That’s hardly good for pre-tournament preparation from a group point of view, although it will be beneficial having so many players compete at the highest level of club football.

UEFA has decided to allow extended squads of 26 for the tournament, although it still leaves Southgate with only 13 players to face Austria and Romania. He will have to call on extra players, presumably those on the standby list, which is often used when players get injuries closer to the tournament.

The UEFA executive committee approved the rule-change in an attempt on the basis of guaranteeing “the smooth running and continuity of the competition in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.” On top of that, it was previously confirmed that five substitutes per team will be allowed in each match. If you haven’t already, it’s worth watching the markets this summer for euro winner odds to monitor who is seen as the favourites.

All of these players have played a lot of football already this season and United’s schedule next week will definitely put strain on the players. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will do his best to rotate his team over the coming weeks, but that has been a difficult task for all teams this season.

According to Sky Sports, the England manager will name his squad for the Euros on May 25 – and it’s likely to include a number of Manchester United players with a range of players either guaranteed a place or up for consideration. They include Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson.

Sorry Phil Jones, not this year.

Can the Three Lions go all the way?

Looking in as an outsider, I usually laugh when this question pops up – before every single international tournament.

But this honestly looks like the best opportunity to win the European Championships ever.

Southgate’s young side has improved, and they’re all recognised with their clubs playing at the highest level. He’s got a very good squad and he’ll be disappointed if they don’t win the tournament outright.

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