England's Euro 2024 squad: Gareth Southgate explains Marcus Rashford omission as Luke Shaw rated a 'long shot'

21 May 2024, 13:41 | Updated: 22 May 2024, 06:16

Gareth Southgate says Marcus Rashford has been omitted from England's Euro 2024 provisional squad because "other players had better seasons than him".

The Manchester United forward, who has scored eight goals in 42 matches for his club this season, was one of two major omissions from the 33-player Three Lions squad preparing for Germany this summer, alongside former vice-captain Jordan Henderson.

Rashford had previously been named in every single England major tournament squad under Southgate but will now watch his country compete for the Euro 2024 title at home.

  • Rashford, Henderson left out of England's provisional Euro squad
  • What has gone wrong for snubbed Rashford?
  • Euro 2024: England drawn with Denmark; Scotland face Germany in opener
  • Euro 2024 fixtures in full | Euro 2024 kits - who's wearing what?

"These are of course difficult calls," Southgate said in a press conference. "You are talking about very good players who have been important in what we've done over a number of years.

"With Marcus, I just feel that other players in that area of the pitch had better seasons. It's as simple as that."

Rashford reacted to his England snub on social media, writing on his Instagram story: "Wishing Gareth and the boys all the best for the up and coming tournament."

The other significant absentee from the England squad was Henderson, who has endured a turbulent club season. The former Liverpool captain joined Saudi Arabia club Al Ettifaq last summer and despite keeping his place in the Three Lions team, he then moved to Ajax in the January transfer window.

"Hendo has given himself every chance," said Southgate. "The determining factor is the injury he picked up at the last camp [in March]. He has missed five weeks and just hasn't been able to get to the intensity in the game since then.

"He's a fantastic professional, it was a difficult call to make as he's been so important and supportive in my time.

"All the boys I have spoken to: Ben [Chilwell], Marcus and Jordan - who were all with us last time - were all incredibly professional and considering the disappointment, they dealt with it well."

Shaw a 'long shot' for Euros despite call-up

Southgate has named 33 players for an England training camp ahead of friendlies with Bosnia & Herzegovina and Iceland in early June, but has to reduce that number to 26 players by 11pm on June 7 - nine days before the Three Lions' tournament opener against Serbia.

The England manager called up left-back Luke Shaw despite a muscle injury keeping the defender out since the middle of February.

Southgate delivered the worrying news that Shaw, who is England's first-choice option at left-back, is a serious doubt to take part in the tournament.

"I have to say he is up against it - he's missed a lot of football," Southgate said on Shaw's fitness.

"The fact he's been first choice in that position , we're probably giving him longer than we might have done. I'm not sure what is realistic at this moment in time.

"I've talked with him, the medical team are liaising with Man Utd closely. But I would have to say he is a long shot."

Can England go all the way? 'Of course, absolutely'

England go into this tournament having come agonisingly close to winning the trophy three years ago, when the Three Lions were beaten by Italy on penalties in the Wembley final.

Asked if his side are capable of going one step further, the England manager replied: "I'd be an idiot if I said no, but if I said yes, that doesn't mean there's not a lot of work ahead of us.

"There's no doubt what is possible. The team has been close already. They know what is possible, they know what they've won at club level and what that's taken.

"And equally, you can see cup football, which we're going into, we know you have to navigate game by game and qualify from the group.

"But in knockout football, the Champions League showed that Man City and Arsenal were in the best three teams this year and didn't get to where they wanted to, as it's one moment and fine margins.

"That is our world. You have to deliver on those moments. But are we one of those teams who can win? Of course, absolutely."

Merson: I'm really shocked by Rashford omission

Sky Sports' Paul Merson:

"It's huge news. Sixty caps, been in tournaments, scores goals and you can rely on him. If it was any other time you'd probably say it was not a shock, but Gareth picks people out of form - he picks people even if they aren't in their team.

"I am really shocked. He hasn't been good, but tournament football is so different to [club football]. It's like no other type of football.

"He's just left out 140 caps in the blink of an eye with Henderson and Rashford. When Rashford gets hot, he gets hot and you need that in tournament football.

"I like Eze, I just don't think he is going to play in front of Foden. If you're watching the game and there are 65 minutes gone and England are behind - who do you go for to bring off the bench?

"Rashford, who has done it before and has sixty caps, or someone who has never played in a tournament before? You're going with Rashford. And that's what shocks me. I think you could take both of them."

What's next for England? The key dates

All times BST

Monday June 3 - International friendly, England vs Bosnia and Herzegovina at St James' Park, kick-off 7.45pm

Friday June 7 - international friendly, England vs Iceland at Wembley, kick-off 7.45pm

Friday June 7 - Final 26-player squad submitted to UEFA

Saturday June 8 - Final 26-player squad announced

Monday June 10 - England squad fly to Germany

England's potential Euro 2024 route

Group stage

The top two in each group plus the four best third-placed teams go through

Sunday June 16 - Group C: Serbia vs England (Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen - kick-off 8pm UK time)

Thursday June 20 - Group C: Denmark vs England (Waldstadion, Frankfurt - kick-off 5pm UK time)

Tuesday June 25 - Group C: England vs Slovenia (RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne - kick-off 8pm UK time)