The reasons behind Southgate’s four Man United snubs vs Croatia

With kick-off between England and Croatia just moments away, Gareth Southgate’s first line-up for Euro 2020 is grim reading for some of the Manchester United players in his squad. The England manager picked six United players in his initial 33-man squad, but narrowed it down to four in his final selection.

That makes Manchester United’s representation in the squad a joint most, tied with Manchester City. But in a huge blow to the four Reds, none have been chosen to feature in the Three Lions opening group game.

Dean Henderson was expected to be Southgate’s third choice goalkeeper going into the tournament, but Nick Pope’s withdrawal would have given the United goalkeeper hope that he can force his way into the team, but started the game against Croatia on the bench. There were doubts over his fitness after missing a training session, but Henderson was passed fit.

Harry Maguire was unlikely to feature in the game, despite returning to full training in the days leading up to their Euro 2020 curtain-raiser. The defender has missed the last month of matches and training due to ankle ligament damage suffered against Aston Villa in May.

Luke Shaw’s exclusion from the team is the most curious case, with supporters outraged when they learnt that 30-year-old right-back Kieran Trippier was preferred on the left side of defence. Shaw has enjoyed a stellar campaign on a personal level and can count himself unlucky not to be given a starting birth for his nation.

Marcus Rashford was expected to be deployed to Harry Kane’s left, especially after captaining the site in their final warm-up game, but was dropped in favour of Raheem Sterling. The 23-year-old struggled for form towards the end of his club season but it can be argued that a starting place was deserved.

Henderson is expected to return to the squad in time for their next game, whilst Maguire is unlikely to feature until later in the tournament. Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford will both be hoping to make positive influences from the bench, highlighting the strength in depth.

Read more: ‘Out of his depth’ – fans react to Gareth Southgate’s leaked England team

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