Gareth Southgate reveals Jack Grealish's reaction to England Euro 2024 squad snub

Gareth Southgate has spoken out for the first time since his England squad announcement (Image: Getty)

Gareth Southgate claims Jack Grealish took the news of his omission from England’s Euro 2024 squad ‘respectfully’, with the Manchester City wide man left out of the Three Lions’ final 26-man list despite a bright performance against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday.

Grealish won the treble with City in 2022/23 but his individual performances tailed off last campaign as he struggled for consistent starts under Pep Guardiola. The 28-year-old is one of seven players included in England’s provisional squad to be axed by Southgate ahead of the tournament.

James Maddison, Jarrad Branthwaite, Curtis Jones, James Trafford, Jarell Quansah and Harry Maguire were the other six, with the squad announcement brought forward ahead of England’s last warm-up friendly, against Iceland on Friday.

In a press conference shortly after his squad was officially announced, Southgate was asked how Grealish and Maddison – two of the most notable absentees – had taken the news. “All the players took it respectfully,” he explained.

“All players are going to believe they should be in, that’s why they’re top players. They have that mindset. The fact is, we’ve got some players who have been playing extremely well all season and we feel other players have had stronger seasons – particularly in the last six months or so.

“We’re blessed with options in attacking areas, all offering something slightly different. Madders and Jack give us something different as well, so they’re tough calls. We’ve gone over it and over it as staff to try and be fair. We back our decisions but we recognise we could have gone a different route. Both boys are big characters and great to work with.”

Harry Maguire’s injury has seen him axed from England’s Euro 2024 squad (Image: Getty)

Maguire would have been a leading contender to start at centre-back in England’s Group C opener against Serbia next weekend, but the Manchester United defender missed out on a place in the squad after failing to recover from a calf injury.

“Harry has made some progress but it’s been complicated,” said Southgate. “Given we’ve not got a clean bill of health across the rest of the back line, we need players who are ready to go from the start. Another really difficult call, you know how I feel about Harry Maguire for England and what he’s done for me as a manager.”

Compared to options in midfield and attack, England are light at the back, and there are lingering fitness concerns over Luke Shaw, who has not played competitively since February. With that in mind, eyebrows were raised when Southgate left Branthwaite out of his 26-man squad following his impressive breakout season at Everton.

“I think it is a bit early for Jarrad,” the manager stated. “In an ideal world you’d like that balance of left-footers, but for him to be ahead of the others… I don’t think would have been the right call at this stage.”