Gareth Southgate explains reasons for Jack Grealish and James Maddison’s England squad omissions

Gareth Southgate announced his official England squad for Euro 2024 on Thursday evening with the big news being the omissions of Jack Grealish and James Maddison, who were both in the squad at the last major tournament, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The England boss named a 33-player preliminary squad for two warm-up matches against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland knowing that he would need to cut seven players ahead of the tournament. The squad announcement was due to take place on Saturday morning but, as news filtered out of the camp that some big names had been cut, the FA brought forward the reveal.

Along with Maddison and Grealish, Harry Maguire will play no part in the tournament, nor will goalkeeper James Trafford, defenders Jarell Quansah and Jarrad Branthwaite and Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones.

Addressing the squad announcement at a press conference, Southgate said the reason Grealish and Maddison had not been included was because other players had better seasons.

“All the players took the news really respectfully,” said Southgate, “Of course, all players will believe they should be in and that’s why they are top players.

“They have that self-belief and mindset, but the fact is we have some players who have been playing extremely well all season in the league.

“We just feel other players had stronger seasons, particularly in the last six months or so. Attacking areas, in particular, we’re blessed with a lot of options, all slightly different.

“Madders and Jack both give us something different as well. They’ve been tough calls, calls that we as a group have gone over and over and over. We back our decisions, but recognise we could have gone a different route.”

Manchester City's Jack Grealish was left out of the England squad for Euro 2024.

Declan Rice was alongside the England boss at the press conference and explained how it felt to lose Maddison and Grealish from the squad.

“It’s been really tough,” he said. “Madders and Jack are two of my best mates in the squad, probably spent most of my time with them since I’ve been here.

“To see them go is not a nice feeling. And they’ve both just said then, before they went, Madders last night, Jack just now, that they wish us all the best.

“They’re gutted they’ve been left out of the squad. We’re so close as a group and no one is feeling really bitter about being left out.”

Maddison was told on Wednesday night that he had not made the Euro 2024 squad and took to social media to express his disappointment. The Tottenham midfielder has won seven caps but only played 29 minutes off the bench against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday.

“Devastated doesn’t quite cut it,” Maddison said on X, formerly Twitter. “Trained well and worked hard all week but if I’m honest with myself, my form for Spurs when coming back from injury in the second half of the season probably wasn’t at the levels I had set which gave Gareth a decision to make.

“I still thought there would be a space for me in a 26 man squad as I feel I bring something different & had been a mainstay in this whole qualifying campaign for Euro 2024 in Germany but the manager has made the decision and I have to respect that. I’ll be back, I have no doubt.

“Wishing the boys all the luck in the world out in Germany, unbelievable group and lads that I literally call some of my best friends. I genuinely hope football comes home.”

England’s 26-man Euro 2024 squad:

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).

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