Ornstein: Euro 2020 England latest, another cruel injury blow for Crystal Palace, Team GB Olympics squad revealed

With the Premier League season done and dusted, all eyes are now on who will make the England squad for Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate will name his 26 players on Tuesday but then has the added headache of watching three English clubs play in the Europa League and Champions League finals over the next week, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all in action.

The manager was at Villa Park on Sunday, keeping tabs on the likes of Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Jack Grealish, and Mason Mount and Reece James of Chelsea, but the final round of matches was not without incident from an England perspective.

Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips suffered a shoulder injury late on in his side’s 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion. The 25-year-old will be assessed in the coming days but it is feared he has suffered a dislocation that would be devastating to his chances of participating in the tournament.

Earlier it had emerged that Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, who was expected to be selected alongside Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Dean Henderson of Manchester United, will undergo knee surgery on Tuesday.

Pope’s chances of recovering in time to play at Euro 2020 are thought to be slim, even though teams can make late changes to the goalkeepers named in their squads if they suffer injury. West Brom’s Sam Johnstone is the next in line although he may have been expected to train with the squad when they meet up on May 31 anyway, given Henderson’s participation in the Europa League final.

Pope was hoping to play against Sheffield United on Sunday but felt discomfort in his knee on Saturday, so the decision was made to have surgery. He spoke to Southgate before the news became public and is understood to be gutted at the timing of his operation.

Sources at Liverpool, meanwhile, do not think Trent Alexander-Arnold will be included. It is understood there has been no contact between the England camp and the club — although that could yet change in the next 24 hours — and the 22-year-old is expected to miss out. Leicester, too, are not confident that James Maddison will make the cut.

Everton’s Ben Godfrey could be one to keep an eye on. Southgate has watched a lot of the 23-year-old centre-back this season and he is in the mix along with the likes of Brighton’s Ben White, also 23. White and fellow Brighton defender Lewis Dunk, 29, are liked by England and a conversation has been held with the club but there has been no indication yet that either will be included.

The England management team will deliver the news — good and bad — to players before Tuesday afternoon’s announcement, with many still unsure whether they had made the squad on Sunday night.

Ferguson becomes second Palace player in a week to suffer cruel achilles injury after Eze

Crystal Palace have seen a second promising young player succumb to a serious achilles tendon injury within a few days after Nathan Ferguson suffered a tear in training on the eve of the team’s final Premier League match at Liverpool.

Ferguson, the full-back signed last summer after his contract expired at West Bromwich Albion, is due to have surgery this week before joining Eberechi Eze in a lengthy rehabilitation. The latter ruptured his tendon in an innocuous incident last Tuesday after collecting a pass in training and turning with no other player near him, only to feel his achilles pop.

The early prognosis suggests Ferguson’s injury is less serious than that sustained by Eze, who underwent an operation last week and is likely to be out until next February. Indeed, there is some optimism that the 20-year-old defender could be playing again before the end of the year. However, the tear still represents a cruel setback for a hugely promising player whose hopes of making an impact in the top flight this season have been consistently frustrated by untimely injuries.

Ferguson has suffered another cruel injury setback (Photo: Dan Weir/PPAUK)

Ferguson had been on the verge of joining Palace in January 2020 after only six months as a regular first-team player at West Brom, such was the positive impression he had made in the Championship, only for what his prospective new employers believed was a serious knee injury to be flagged up in a routine medical before the transfer.

The player returned to The Hawthorns and went under the knife to repair the issue before moving to Selhurst Park on a free transfer over the summer with compensation due to be determined by a tribunal.

Yet, having eventually recovered from the knee problem, Ferguson has seen his attempts to make a mark in the first-team regularly frustrated by unconnected muscular injuries, the latest a thigh complaint picked up with the under-23s. He had impressed the outgoing manager, Roy Hodgson, to such an extent, however, that it is understood he would have been in the match-day squad for Sunday’s final match, only to suffer the achilles injury on Saturday.

Palace, who are still awaiting the tribunal’s decision over how much compensation they will have to pay West Brom for the player, firmly believe Ferguson has a bright future in the game and will stand by the young full-back. The youngster is determined to return stronger from this setback and will work on his rehab over the closed season in the hope of returning to first-team contention before the end of the year.

Buendia expected to leave Norwich with Arsenal and Aston Villa keeping tabs

Now that the domestic season is over in Europe’s top divisions, clubs will step up their summer transfer plans and few players have been more heavily linked with a move than Emiliano Buendia.

Despite winning promotion to the Premier League with Norwich City, the 24-year-old attacking midfielder is the subject of well-documented interest from teams such as Arsenal and Aston Villa. And it is not only English sides who have their eye on Buendia — a major continental outfit are believed to have enquired last week, following his maiden call-up to the senior Argentina squad.

It has all the makings of a classic tug-of-war as Norwich seek to keep the creator at Carrow Road and suitors attempt to prise him away, but on this occasion, that probably won’t be the case.

The Athletic understands that Buendia and his employers accept this is the right time for him to take the next step in his career and the expectation is that he will depart in the upcoming market.

It will require a fee of more than £40 million and some of the proceeds must go to Getafe, from where Norwich secured Buendia for €1.5 million two years ago, as the deal included a sell-on clause. But when his age, profile, statistics and experience of British football are taken into consideration and compared to those of other potential signings, it seems to represent decent value for money.

Neither Norwich nor Buendia wants the situation running into next season, but they are in no rush and know their options should increase once admirers clarify their recruitment ideas and budgets.

Arsenal technical director Edu and manager Mikel Arteta think highly of the Championship player of the year and could take it further if they do not land their first-choice target Martin Odegaard.

That position is among Arsenal’s priorities, as has been right centre-back. They covet Sevilla’s Jules Kounde but may struggle to attract the 22-year-old Frenchman, who will cost around £50 million and is likely to want Champions League football.

Buendia is also a candidate for Aston Villa as they look to strengthen in forward areas after Trezeguet suffered a serious knee injury last month and Ross Barkley’s loan spell came to an end.

Villa have watched Buendia closely and are familiar with buying talents who have shone in the second tier, although it is unclear if Buendia will be their final pick. Whomever that proves to be, the intention at Villa Park is for them to play alongside Grealish rather than replace him.

Norwich are still to receive any formal offers but if a suitable bid arrives they will not stand in Buendia’s way. The same applies to team-mates such as Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell. Internal or external replacements would be sourced and that way of working is key to the club’s model.

Goalkeeper Bardsley makes the grade for Great Britain at the Olympics

Karen Bardsley is set to be the shock inclusion in Team GB’s 18-strong women’s football squad for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, reports Katie Whyatt.

Scotland’s Kim Little and Caroline Weir are also among those who will be included by head coach Hege Riise but Bardsley, who has won 82 England caps, is the most surprising name.

The 36-year-old’s final season with Manchester City was riddled with injuries and saw her lose the No 1 spot to Ellie Roebuck, who has also made the Olympics squad.

Bardsley and Little at the London 2012 Olympics (Photo: AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

A loan move to OL Reign in the US National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in February boosted her chances at the eleventh hour, making her one of a handful of players who will have travelled for Team GB to the London 2012 and Tokyo Olympics (provided the Games go ahead this summer as planned).

Other players who are due to appear at both Games are Jill Scott, whose January loan move to Everton from Manchester City likewise helped her to secure a place in the squad, England captain Steph Houghton, her City team-mate Ellen White and Arsenal’s Little.

Little’s Arsenal team-mate Lisa Evans appeared to confirm the former’s inclusion in the squad this weekend in a blog for the #WePlayStrong women’s football YouTube channel, telling her: “Last game of the season — not for you, Mrs Olympics.”

The players, including those on standby, were all notified last week.

The FIFA player of the year Lucy Bronze will be named, in addition to her Manchester City team-mates Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway. City’s Alex Greenwood will not be included but the versatility of Arsenal’s Leah Williamson has got her the nod. Chelsea’s Sophie Ingle, another who can play in both defence and midfield — crucial in a squad of just 18 players — is believed to be the only Wales player to make it.

The Athletic understands highly rated Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver has made the standby list, along with Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert and Manchester United pair Ella Toone and Millie Turner.

Team GB will play Japan, Canada and Chile in group games at the Olympics, beginning on July 21, having secured qualification via England’s fourth-place finish at the 2019 World Cup.

They will hope to improve on their showing on home soil nine years ago, when they won all three group matches but were beaten 2-0 in the quarter-finals by Canada.

Walcott didn’t think twice about cutting £150,000-a-week Everton wages in half to join Southampton

Theo Walcott agreed to a 50 per cent cut on his Everton wages to join Southampton, such was his desire to make his loan move permanent.

The former Arsenal forward joined Southampton on loan at the start of last season and will sign a two-year deal once his contract at Goodison Park expires next month.

Southampton split the 32-year-old’s wages — understood to be in the region of £150,000 per week — with Everton during his loan spell, so they will continue to pay the same amount but will now take on 100 per cent of his salary.

Walcott didn’t think twice about the pay cut and declined offers from MLS in the US to stay and try to help establish Southampton as a top-half team while also helping the younger players coming through the academy.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was taken aback by the forward’s professionalism and was also eager for him to join permanently.

Walcott’s decision to return to the club he left for Arsenal as a teenager in 2006 was also influenced by those closest to him, with his wife wanting to return to Southampton and settle as a family.

He believes in what Hasenhuttl and chief executive Martin Semmens are trying to create at St Mary’s, and was desperate to help them realise their vision.

Dan Sheldon

Giggs weighing up whether to take a back seat at Salford before court appearance

As Manchester United prepare for their Europa League final on Wednesday, Ryan Giggs is getting ready for a hearing at Manchester Crown Court that is expected to set a trial date relating to charges of domestic abuse, writes Daniel Taylor.

Giggs, the club’s record appearance-maker and a 13-time Premier League champion, is accused of headbutting his then-girlfriend, Kate Greville, and a further charge of coercive and controlling behaviour from December 2017 to November 2020. Another charge relates to an alleged assault on her younger sister, Emma. Giggs denies all the offences.

The trial is scheduled to last three weeks because of the number of witnesses, CCTV footage and, as the prosecution explained in a hearing at Manchester magistrates’ court last month, thousands of pages of telephone communications for the jury to consider.

It means Giggs will have no part in the announcement of the Wales squad for this summer’s European Championship, having agreed to step away from his role as national team manager.

What is less clear, however, is how it affects his other role on the board of Salford City, the club he runs with Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and David Beckham as co-directors. The Athletic’s understanding is that Giggs is considering whether to take a back seat there, too, and keep out of the public eye.

Tickets are still on sale for An Evening with Ryan Giggs at the Lowry theatre in Manchester on July 18 but The Athletic understands that the event will be cancelled.

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