History and odds will be stacked against Ukraine in their first ever European Championship quarter-final against England on Saturday.

The Three Lions have only lost one of their previous seven meetings with Ukraine, who never scored more than once in any of those matches.

That does not bode well when you consider England are yet to even concede once at Euro 2020, having become only the third side in Euros history to keep clean sheets in all of their first four games of a tournament.

If England do shut Ukraine out, they will match the record set by Italy at the 1990 World Cup of five successive clean sheets from the start of the competition.

 

While England fans may already be mentally preparing themselves for a second successive major tournament semi-final, Gareth Southgate acknowledged the Three Lions will arguably be out of their comfort zone for the first time in Euro 2020 as they travel to Rome.

"We've got to go away from Wembley, into a potentially quite hot climate, hardly any England fans in the stadium, and maybe a not particularly full crowd full stop," he said.

"And then there is this perception that all we've got to do is turn up, and we are on our way. We're very clear now that the total focus is on Saturday. We have to prepare the game in the right way, and our mentality is critical."

'The bigger they are, the harder they fall,' Ukraine will be telling themselves.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ukraine – Georgi Bushcan

The performances of Ukraine goalkeeper Bushchan have been largely positive, though the odd mistake has crept in – for example, he gifted Memphis Depay the opener in the group stage defeat to the Netherlands. Further to this, the goals prevented metric puts him at fault for 1.2 goals, the joint-third worst record at Euro 2020. If Andriy Shevchenko's men are to progress here, they will need Bushcan at the top of his game.

 

England – Harry Maguire

Manchester United defender Maguire has been a rock in his two Euro 2020 games, winning every single one of his aerial duels so far, but his importance to England goes beyond his physicality. His forward-thinking nature has been notable since his return, with his 11.5 progressive carries per 90 minutes being the best of everyone in the squad, while he and John Stones are also England's most direct carriers in possession, bringing the ball upfield 20 per cent of the time. With Ukraine likely to sit deep, Maguire will see a lot of the ball and therefore have significant influence in starting attacks.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Andriy Yarmolenko has either scored (two) or assisted (three) five of Ukraine's eight European Championship goals. Indeed, his five goal involvements is level with Shevchenko (four goals, one assist) for the most by a Ukraine player at major tournaments (World Cup and Euros).

- Raheem Sterling has scored three of England's four goals at Euro 2020 so far, while only two players have ever scored more for the Three Lions in a single edition at the tournament – Alan Shearer in 1996 (five) and Wayne Rooney in 2004 (four).

- Coming into the quarter-final matches, only Italy (2.1) have a lower expected goals conceded total than England (2.7) at Euro 2020. England have faced just eight shots on target in their four games (two per game), their lowest ratio on record in a major tournament (since 1966 for World Cup and since 1980 for the European Championship).

- Ukraine's only previous quarter-final appearance in a major tournament ended in a 3-0 defeat to Italy in the 2006 World Cup. Ukraine have won two of their last three European Championship matches, more than they had in their first seven in the competition (W1 L6).

- Each of England's previous three quarter-final matches at the European Championship have gone to extra-time and penalties – after progressing from the first of these against Spain in 1996, England lost in penalty shootouts against Portugal in 2004 and Italy in 2012.

Jack Grealish and Harry Maguire will start England's Euro 2020 Group D match against the Czech Republic at Wembley, with Arsenal's Bukayo Saka a surprise inclusion in Gareth Southgate's XI.

Grealish was a second-half substitute in England's 0-0 draw against Scotland last Friday and Mason Mount being forced into self-isolation after a coronavirus scare has cleared the way for the Aston Villa favourite to start in the number 10 role.

Raheem Sterling – the scorer of England's only goal in the tournament so far – and captain Harry Kane retain their places, with Saka completing the forward line.

The 19-year-old netted his first international goal in a friendly against Austria earlier this month and is preferred to the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, the Borussia Dortmund winger who is yet to feature at Euro 2020 despite 16 goals and 18 assists at club level in 2020-21.

Manchester United skipper Maguire returns to partner John Stones at centre-back following ankle ligament damage and the duo are charged with keeping Golden Boot contender Patrik Schick, the spearhead of an unchanged Czech line-up, quiet.

 

Schick has three goals in two outings so far and a draw will be enough for his country to deny England top spot.

England's fourth and final change from the Scotland match is Kyle Walker's inclusion at right-back, although his Manchester City team-mate Phil Foden is not in the matchday squad, with Southgate electing to rest the playmaker due to a yellow card he collected against Croatia, which put him at risk of suspension for the round of 16.

Harry Maguire is fit enough to be involved in England's Euro 2020 clash with Scotland on Friday, Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

But the Three Lions boss also revealed he has yet to make a decision over whether the defender is ready to feature from the start at Wembley.

Maguire has been out of action since sustaining an ankle injury during a Manchester United win over Aston Villa in early May.

However, he was included in England's squad this summer regardless and, according to his manager, is now nearing a return to the pitch.

Southgate said: "Harry will be involved tomorrow. The decision we have got to make is whether he's ready to start but we're really pleased with his progress. 

"He's trained with the team for four or five days now and had no reaction and each session that he's involved in he gets more confident. 

"I think he's on a really good path. Of course, we want everybody available, it causes difficult decisions but this morning we had 26 players training and that's a great situation for us to be in."

Maguire was not the only injured player somewhat controversially named in England's squad, with Jordan Henderson also among the final 26 despite missing the end of the season.

But, when asked about the recent debate over the Liverpool captain's inclusion, Southgate explained that his off-the-field influence was a major factor in his involvement. 

He continued: "I think with the 26-man squad we were able to take a little bit more of a risk with Hendo. 

"What he brings to the group on the training pitch, around the camp, his experience, the way he can speak to some of the other players in those quiet moments around the hotel, the way he trains the way he approaches his work, it's a great advantage for us to have him with the team. 

"He's training consistently now and he's getting closer to the level that we need him to be at. Also, I think we've got some decent cover in that area of the pitch. 

"But I think that the drop-off from not taking Hendo was such that we preferred to give him the opportunity to make it. 

"You've got to have the physical part, there's no doubt about that, even if it's for 15-20 minutes in the game. you've got to be able to press well, you've got to be able to get around the pitch well, but there are other factors when you're building your squad and when you're building a team. 

"All of those parts are key to producing a winning environment."

England's win over Croatia in their first group game means they can qualify for the knockout stages of the European Championship by beating their old rivals Scotland.

Southgate is confident that his players will be able to keep their cool in an undeniably high-stakes fixture.

He added: "We know that you've got to compete because otherwise you can get overrun in any game, but our focus has been on solving the tactical problems that Scotland pose with the way that they play, the way they defend, the way they attack. 

"Our focus has got to be on getting better with every game that we play. For the fans and for us it's a big occasion but it's another opportunity for three points and our objective is qualification so that's what we've got to focus on. 

"In the past we've done that well, I thought we did that well on Sunday. [It] was a big occasion for everybody and – with the heat as well – I thought we dealt with that really, really well."

England and Scotland will meet for the 100th time in competitive internationals on Friday in a match that could prove pivotal to their respective Euro 2020 campaigns.

The Three Lions began Group D with a 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley, while Scotland suffered a 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic, Patrik Schick scoring from a header and then a quite remarkable strike from near the halfway line.

This is typically a high-scoring match: these teams have met 32 times previously at England's national stadium and none of those matches has ended goalless. In the 21st century, this fixture averages four goals per game, with England scoring 11 and Scotland five overall.

Victory for Gareth Southgate's side would guarantee their place in the last 16, while a positive result is a must for Scotland: should Steve Clarke's men lose and Croatia fail to beat the Czech Republic, the Scots will be unable to finish in the top two and must rely on their chances of ending up as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Recent history is not on Scotland's side. They have beaten England just once in their past 11 meetings: a 1-0 win at Wembley in November 1999, secured by a Don Hutchison goal. Their only previous meeting at a major tournament, back at Euro 96, saw England win 2-0 thanks to goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne.

 

England defender Harry Maguire, who has declared himself fit enough to be involved after recovering from an ankle ligament injury, expects "a great occasion" when Friday's game begins at 20:00 local time.

"Of course it is a big game," said the Manchester United captain. "Any game in the Euros is a massive game, putting Scotland in there as well is huge.

"It is going to be a great day, a great occasion for the country to get together and push us forward and try our best to go and get the three points and perform on the day.

"It will only be a great day if we get the three points and then I am sure we will enjoy the occasion."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

England – Kalvin Phillips

Arguably the best player on the pitch against Croatia, Phillips delivered an accomplished display, assisting Raheem Sterling's goal as he completed 95 per cent of his passes in the opposition half, the most of any starting player.

With Jordan Henderson struggling to be fit, the Leeds United man could well keep his place for a game in which his passing array could prove useful.

Scotland – David Marshall

Marshall made five saves against the Czech Republic but still came in for criticism for Schick's second, given how far he was off his line when Scotland's attack broke down.

The Derby County goalkeeper could be pivotal to Scotland's chances of a result here, though, as England will be expected to create opportunities.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- England have won all six of their matches in all competitions in 2021, only the third time they have won their opening six matches of a calendar year (also in 1909 and 1986). They have never won their first seven in a year previously, while the Three Lions last won seven consecutive games between September 2014 and March 2015 under Roy Hodgson.
- Scotland have failed to score in five of their seven matches at the European Championship. The only games in which they have found the net have been in their third and final group games of their two previous appearances (3-0 vs CIS in 1992, 1-0 vs Switzerland in 1996).
- Scotland had the highest expected goals tally of any of the four sides in Group D on matchday one (1.9). However, they were unable to convert any of 19 attempts in their defeat to the Czech Republic.
- Sterling has been directly involved in 19 goals in his past 17 appearances for England (13 goals, six assists). Sterling has ended on the winning side in all 11 previous matches when he has scored for the Three Lions, the best 100 per cent win record in games scored in England's entire history. He has also played the most games for England at Wembley without losing (23 – W21 D2).
- Andy Robertson created six chances for Scotland against the Czech Republic, the most of any player in Group D on matchday one. In fact, in European Championship history only Gary McAllister (16) and Gordon Durie (seven) have created more chances than Robertson among Scottish players, despite those players playing at least four games more than the Liverpool defender.

Harry Maguire has declared himself fit to play in the Euro 2020 clash between England and Scotland at Wembley on Friday.

The Manchester United captain has been sidelined since suffering ankle ligament damage on May 9 in the Red Devils' 3-1 Premier League win at Aston Villa.

Maguire was hurt after falling awkwardly beneath Anwar El Ghazi. He sat out United's final five games of the season, including the Europa League final, which ended in defeat on penalties to Villarreal.

The centre-back was not ready to feature in England's warm-up games with Austria and Lithuania or the 1-0 win over Croatia last Sunday, in which Tyrone Mings partnered John Stones at the heart of Gareth Southgate's defence.

Speaking on Wednesday, Maguire said: "I feel good. I'm back available, I've been training and I'm looking forward to it. I've done a few sessions now and I feel like my fitness is there."

Confirming he was "available to the manager for selection," for the Scotland game, Maguire added: "I'm here as a player but also as a fan so I fully understand my position in the camp. Whatever happens, I want England to win – that's my main focus."

Maguire felt buoyed by Southgate's decision to include him in England's 26-man squad despite knowing he would miss at least the opening group game with Croatia.

"Gareth has shown great faith in me and that's not just in this camp, it's since I made my debut," he said. "I know Gareth trusts me and it gives me great confidence to come here and try and do as much as I can for him and, most importantly, for the country.

"I knew it was a pretty serious injury because it didn't come from impact or contact. I knew it was a twist straight away so there would be some sort of ligament damage in there. Obviously, you fear the worst but I'm here now and ready to go.

"I haven't had an ankle injury before but, from speaking to players and physios, I'm sure it will be niggling. As long as it's stable and the pain is bearable then I'm sure I'll be fine."

 

SOUTHGATE'S ROCK

Maguire played in all eight of England's games for Euro 2020 qualifying, more than any other defender, helping the Three Lions to keep five clean sheets in those matches.

The former Leicester City man averaged 2.75 successful aerials and 1.6 interceptions per 90 minutes, the most among defenders.

He also completed by far the most passes (672) and most long passes (38) in those eight matches, as England finished top of Group A with seven wins from eight games.

In total, England have won 62.5 per cent of the 32 senior games Maguire has played, keeping 16 clean sheets and conceding 23 goals.

Harry Maguire was back in team training with England on Thursday ahead of their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia at the weekend.

All 26 members of Gareth Southgate's squad took part in the session at St George's Park as preparations for Sunday's game at Wembley continued.

Maguire has not played since May 9, when he damaged ankle ligaments during Manchester United's 3-1 Premier League win away to Aston Villa.

The centre-back missed United's final four league games of the season, in which they lost at home to Leicester City and Liverpool, drew with Fulham and won at Wolves.

He also sat out the Europa League final against Villarreal, which the LaLiga side won on penalties following a 0-0 draw in Gdansk.

Speaking last week, Southgate said it would be "tight" for Maguire to be considered fully fit for the match against Croatia after he also missed England's warm-up friendlies with Austria and Romania.

However, the Three Lions boss insisted it was right to include the former Leicester defender in the group, saying: "I think he's such a good player and we had the additional size of squad, the fact that that leadership which is growing in him all the time, we wanted to take that opportunity to bring him into the squad."

England, who are in Group D, also face Scotland on June 18 and the Czech Republic on June 22.

 

Gareth Southgate described Trent Alexander-Arnold's injury as "heartbreaking" for the Liverpool full-back, who will miss Euro 2020.

Alexander-Arnold sustained a thigh injury late on in England's friendly win over Austria on Wednesday, and scans the next day confirmed he will face around six weeks out.

His place in the 26-man squad for Euro 2020 had been the subject of fierce debate in the media, but the 22-year-old made the cut.

With three other right-backs in his squad, Southgate will make a call on who replaces Alexander-Arnold in his selection after Sunday's friendly against Romania in Middlesbrough.

But for now, the England manager offered his support to Alexander-Arnold, whose focus will be on returning to fitness ahead of Liverpool's 2021-22 campaign.

"Well it's heartbreaking really, for any player to get to the eve of a major tournament, be named in the squad and then to miss out through injury," Southgate told a news conference.

"You know how rare these opportunities are, even though he's a young player who's going to have these opportunities again, that's a really difficult moment for him especially.

"It's a big disappointment for us of course, as well, but you can't help, first and foremost, to feel for Trent in this situation.

"The one thing I was pleased about immediately after the game, I didn't like the look of the injury but at least it sounds like he'll be fine for pre-season and next season, but that is a very small positive. Of course he was very upset, bitterly disappointed and in those moments everybody is thinking about him."

England have six players available on standby – James Ward-Prowse, Ben Godfrey, Ben White, Ollie Watkins, Jesse Lingard and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

The Three Lions still seem well stacked in defence, though midfield is an area they look to be short in, with Jordan Henderson's fitness still in question, albeit centre-back Harry Maguire is also working his way back from injury and seems unlikely to be able to feature in the Group D opener against Croatia on June 13.

Pressed on whether it would definitely be a defender who replaces Alexander-Arnold, Southgate replied: "We want to see how we get through tomorrow's game, be able to assess everything and we'll make a decision from there.

"It's important to have time to consider everything, we're obviously talking about that as a coaching staff. We'll know more after tomorrow's game where everybody is physically, whether there's any more issues, it's important we get the positional balance right for the whole squad."

Asked for an update on Maguire, who is still not training with the team, Southgate said: "With any injury it's impossible to predict 100 per cent.

"Our medical team are pleased with his progress, particularly over the last couple of days, so we know there is always that risk, but all of the guide is that he should be available. It's a case of when he can slot back into training with the group.

"There's always that risk with any injury that you only have to have one minor setback, I am very realistic about that. If he's fit and available, that's a bonus for us."

Rio Ferdinand has questioned Gareth Southgate's decision to include Harry Maguire in England's Euro 2020 squad and says Marcus Rashford should not be considered for a starting spot.

Maguire was this week named as part of England's final 26-man squad for the tournament, despite missing Manchester United's final five games of the season – including the Europa League final loss to Villarreal – with ankle ligament damage.

He has yet to take part in training since linking up with his Three Lions team-mates, with Southgate admitting on Tuesday he is unsure if the defender will be ready for the Group D opener against Croatia on June 13.

With fears Maguire may not be fit enough to play any part in the group phase, former United centre-back Ferdinand does not believe Maguire should have been selected at the expense of another defender.

"Harry is important from set-pieces, as he showed at the World Cup. But I have to be honest, I wouldn't take players that are 50 per cent fit," said Ferdinand, who was speaking to Stats Perform on behalf of Heineken, an official UEFA Euro 2020 partner. 

"If I'm worried about a player being able to make 90 minutes, I wouldn't take them. Too much energy goes into talking about it and worrying about it, that it takes the focus off what you are there for as a team."

Who to play alongside John Stones in the heart of defence should Maguire fail to win his fitness battle is not the only big selection call Southgate has to make ahead of Euro 2020 getting under way next week.

The England boss is spoiled for choice in the final third, with Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all battling for starting spots alongside captain Harry Kane.

Rashford has scored four goals in his last five appearances for England, but he struggled with a niggling injury issue towards the end of last season and Ferdinand would hold off from using the versatile forward until later in the tournament.

"If you're looking at form, I think Marcus probably doesn't deserve to start," Ferdinand said. "I think of the players around him in that position, Sancho and Foden should be picked in terms of form.

"I don't know much about Gareth's relationship with them players and what they've done in the past for him, and his confidence in certain players. Also, tactically how the game looks, who he is going to play. 

"In terms of form, I think he's scored one in nine or 10 games at the end of the season [for United]. I think he's a bit fatigued and I think he's been carrying a few injuries. I'd like to see him recuperating in this little period of time off, and then come into it fresh."

Of those eight players vying for a starting role in the final third, Aston Villa playmaker Grealish and Borussia Dortmund's Sancho lead the way in terms of big chances created in the league during the 2020-21 campaign with 14 each.

Despite missing 12 matches, Grealish was by far and away the most fouled player in the Premier League last season (110 fouls won), while his 2.68 dribbles completed per 90 minutes was bettered by just six players to have played at least 20 times.

Only Belgium (40) scored more goals than England's 37 in qualifying for Euro 2020 and Ferdinand is particularly excited by the attacking options available to choose from.

"In terms of wide players, we must have some of the biggest talent," he said. "We've got Foden, Sterling, Rashford, Grealish, Sancho, and Mount can play there as well – so six of the most talented, impactful players that are playing at the moment. 

"You look at Sancho, over the last three years has got 30 goal involvements every year, which is astounding for a kid who had been 21 and under. 

"Jack Grealish has been one of the hardest to combat players in the Premier League when he's fit. Phil Foden is deciding games in Champions League knockout stages, for one so young, and Man City are dominating in midfield. 

"It's crazy. You've also got Sterling, with what he's done over the last three years, his trophy haul that he's building at the moment is up there with the best. Those young players, it's mouthwatering."

While a number of positions are up for debate, it is certain that captain Kane – who topped the scoring charts in qualifying – will lead the line for the Three Lions.

Kane won his third Golden Boot after scoring 23 times in 2020-21, becoming the third player after Thierry Henry (four) and Alan Shearer to achieve such a feat.

He also set up 14 goals to become just the second player in the Premier League era to top the charts for both goals and assists (also Andy Cole in 1993-94).

The Tottenham striker's future is a hot topic of debate heading into the tournament after recently admitting he is at a "crossroads" in his career, but Ferdinand does not expect that to have any sort of impact on his performances.

"It happens to the best players," he said. "These players we're talking about with speculation, like Sancho and Kane, they have this every day of the week. This is normal for them, they are just in a tournament, that's the only difference.

"I think Harry has shown he enjoys wearing the armband. He enjoys the responsibility, some players grow with it. This tournament, I'd like to see that."

 

Ferdinand was speaking as part of Heineken's 'Enjoy the Rivalry' campaign, which encourages fans to watch Euro 2020 matches alongside their rivals.

The United legend was pranked by fellow former pro Robbie Savage as part of the initiative, culminating in the ex-England international having his portrait draped in a flag of rivals Wales.

"I was a bit surprised, I've got to be honest," he said. "I was probably being a bit too polite because there were two young ladies in front of me and I didn't want to be... well I saw the Welsh flag and I thought what are these people playing at?

"They don't understand the rivalry that we have with Wales and all of a sudden they drape me in a Welsh flag. It was weird.

"I think 'finally together again to be rivals', is a perfect strapline. I think everyone's waited for this opportunity, to have some sort of rivalry with teams, with people, with individuals."

Harry Maguire is facing a race against time to be fit enough to play in England's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on June 13, according to Gareth Southgate.

Manchester United captain Maguire suffered an ankle injury last month which saw him miss the end of the season, including the Red Devils' Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.

Southgate has nevertheless picked the centre-back in his 26-man squad for the Euros, which was confirmed on Tuesday.

However, the England manager admitted to being unsure if the 28-year-old would be able to play against Croatia.

"We don't know that yet. It's going to be tight for the first game [v Croatia], there's no question," he said when pressed on Maguire's availability.

"I think he's such a good player and we had the additional size of squad, the fact that that leadership which is growing in him all the time, we wanted to take that opportunity to bring him into the squad."

Another player recuperating from a lay off is Jordan Henderson, who has not featured since going off injured for Liverpool during the Merseyside derby in February.

However, Southgate revealed Henderson will play a part in the friendly against Austria on Wednesday.

"Jordan has trained with the team all week so that’s been good. We've had to modify him through certain parts of the session. He’ll be involved in the game tomorrow," Southgate said of the Liverpool captain. 

"His progress is good but we're realistic about what that might look like."

Jack Grealish is also coming back from injury, though he did play for Aston Villa in May, while Marcus Rashford is another concern.

"Jack has trained with the team, but not every day so we've got to manage his load," added Southgate, who will also be without Jadon Sancho, who is ill, for the Austria match.

"Again, we want to get the players to the best possible point but we don't want to break them in the process. Marcus, we haven't seen him on the grass but he assures me he's happy with where he’s at. We go from there with that one."

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde admitted he could leave the LaLiga side in the off-season amid links with Manchester United.

Kounde has emerged as one of the most sought-after centre-backs in the transfer market after countryman Dayot Upamecano joined Bayern Munich and Ibrahima Konate agreed to swap RB Leipzig for Liverpool.

United have long been linked with a move for Kounde, who helped Sevilla to a fourth-placed finish in LaLiga this term, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Premier League giants reportedly eye a new partner for Harry Maguire.

The 22-year-old France international – also a reported target for the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Arsenal – said he wants to win trophies.

"Regarding my future, I may change this summer," Kounde told reporters as France prepare for Wednesday's international friendly against Wales, ahead of the upcoming Euro 2020.

"Nothing is for sure yet, I did not take a final decision.

"Obviously, my goal is to play one day in one of the greatest clubs to keep improving and to win trophies.

"Starting every year the season knowing that the goal is to win this or this trophy. I may move but for now, it is not the case."

United already boast captain Maguire – the most expensive defender in history – Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly in defence, while Axel Tuanzebe has struggled for regular game time.

When comparing Kounde to Maguire, Lindelof and Bailly across domestic league action in 2020-21, the former ranks first in passing accuracy (90.11 per cent) and clean sheets (15).

Kounde is only second to Maguire in tackles (27 to 29), tackle success (55.6 to 58.6 per cent), interceptions (40 to 60), clearances (100 to 122), recoveries (100 to 122), duel success (60.7 to 65.7 per cent) and aerials won (102 to 135).

Trent Alexander-Arnold and injured pair Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson have been named in England's 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate has until midnight on June 1 to cut his squad down to 26, but he will have time to assess players in training ahead of friendlies against Austria and Romania on June 2 and June 6 respectively.

Alexander-Arnold had been the headline name to miss out on England's squad for the March internationals, but the Liverpool full-back does feature in this extended list.

He is joined by Reds team-mate Jordan Henderson, who has not featured for Liverpool since sustaining an injury in the Merseyside derby in February, while Manchester United captain Maguire, who is currently struggling with an ankle ligament problem, is also included.

Also making the cut is Mason Greenwood. The United teenager, who has enjoyed a fine end to the season, scoring eight times in all competitions from March 21 onwards, has not featured in a squad since he – along with Manchester City star Phil Foden – breached coronavirus protocols in Iceland last September.

Foden is included after a sensational campaign for the Premier League champions, along with Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, who returned from injury earlier this month.

Southgate faces an anxious wait as both Greenwood and Foden, along with their respective United and City team-mates, have European finals this week. City play in the Champions League showpiece against Chelsea, who have three players in the squad. Tammy Abraham is not among them.

Borussia Dortmund pair Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho feature. Bellingham, who turns 18 at the end of June, could become England's youngest player at a major tournament.

Midfield colleague Kalvin Phillips will be the subject of some scrutiny ahead of the squad deadline following a shoulder injury playing for Leeds United on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford missed the previous squad through injury but returns and seems likely to be number one again, with Dean Henderson having struggled for consistency during a stint as United's first choice towards the end of the campaign.

Burnley keeper Nick Pope has undergone surgery on his knee, meaning Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale – relegated with West Brom and Sheffield United respectively – are called up.

Southampton forward Danny Ings headlines the list of notable omissions, while Eric Dier – a regular under Southgate – has also been left out, as has Micheal Keane. Young centre-backs Ben Godfrey and Ben White are preferred, called up for the first time.

England start their Euros campaign at Wembley on June 13, taking on Croatia. Scotland are next up in Group D, before the Three Lions face the Czech Republic on June 22.
 

Provisional England squad in full:

Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Ben Godfrey (Everton), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Brighton and Hove Albion); Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton); Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).

Trent Alexander-Arnold and injured pair Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson have been named in England's 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate has until midnight on June 1 to cut his squad down to 26, but he will have time to assess players in training ahead of friendlies against Austria and Romania on June 2 and June 6 respectively.

Alexander-Arnold had been the headline name to miss out on England's squad for the March internationals, but the Liverpool full-back does feature in this extended list.

He is joined by Reds team-mate Jordan Henderson, who has not featured for Liverpool since sustaining an injury in the Merseyside derby in February, while Manchester United captain Maguire, who is currently struggling with an ankle ligament problem, is also included.

While it will not be the main item on the agenda, it is fair to say that Manchester United's centre-back strength will be under the microscope in Wednesday's Europa League final against Villarreal.

Of course, any apparent issues at the back will be drowned out – at least initially – if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer guides United to their first piece of silverware during his tenure.

However, as the game approaches, it is at the heart of their defence where United's biggest problem lies, with Harry Maguire unlikely to be fit for the game.

Love him or loathe him, there is little doubt Maguire has been United's best – and certainly most present – centre-back since he joined the club in 2019, with the defeat to his former club Leicester City earlier this month the first Premier League game he had missed for the Red Devils.

He did not feature in any of the final four league fixtures and, even though he has travelled to Gdansk, a starting role seems highly unlikely.

Therefore, it will either be down to former Villarreal man Eric Bailly or Axel Tuanzebe to partner Victor Lindelof – either way, it is hardly the most convincing of partnerships.

If United are to bridge the gap to Manchester City, it has been a long-held belief of many pundits and columnists that centre-back is one of the few areas they have significant room for improvement in, with the options available in Maguire's absence highlighting that.

Up against them on Wednesday will be Pau Torres, a central defender who has been linked with some of the world's biggest clubs, including United. Could he be the long-term answer they are looking for?

The playmaker at centre-back

Maguire has enjoyed a solid season for United, his influence at the back made all the more notable in the two matches they have lost without him. The main question mark is over the man next to him, which is usually Lindelof.

For a period last year, it appeared as though United would try to bring in a left-footed centre-back to partner Maguire, who would be allowed to shift back to the right side of the pairing.

Nathan Ake seemed an obvious candidate given Bournemouth's relegation and the fact Solskjaer appeared to indicate his interest in the Dutchman after a game against the Cherries – his comments caught by a nearby television camera.

He went to Manchester City instead, but Torres has a similar profile in that he is a left-footed centre-back who is praised for his ability on the ball.

Playing out from the back has been a frequent aspect of United's play under Solskjaer, and Torres would certainly fit in – his tally of 747 forward passes in LaLiga this term were bettered by only Jules Kounde (918) and Clement Lenglet (812) in terms of fellow defenders.

Where he does better than both, however, is bringing the ball out of defence. His 432 progressive carries – movements that take the ball more than five metres upfield – is 42 more than any other LaLiga defender, while he has carried the ball 4,784.4 metres up the pitch, again a high for the league.

This has even translated into having an attacking influence, with his two assists at the end of a carry only bettered by Jose Gaya – a full-back – among defenders. In fact, he's the only centre-back to get more than one assist in this fashion.

It all demonstrates how useful and reliable Torres can be for a team that wants to build from deep. Stylistically at least, it would seem the Spain international could be a great fit for United.

Room to grow, or not enough of an upgrade?

Despite the acclaim Torres has received over the past two seasons, there are those unconvinced by some of his defensive skills.

He has been accused of being too prone to making snap decisions, which does not tend to bring positive results for him in one-on-one situations, while it has also been pointed out that his communication with a partner can be poor, especially when it comes to offside traps.

The other potential issue is, while Torres is undoubtedly a wonderful player technically and arguably the most gifted centre-back in that regard in Spain, his weaknesses are similar to those already seen from Lindelof during his time at Old Trafford.

The problem many have with Lindelof is that he too often appears uneasy in physical confrontations, while also looking uncomfortable against nimble forwards.

Torres is athletic – tall, quick and strong, but he still seems unsure how best to use those physical traits at times, and his defensive numbers are not an upgrade on Lindelof.

The Sweden international averages more aerial challenges (3.5) and aerial wins (2.2) per 90 minutes than Torres (2.7 and 1.7) in the 2020-21 season, while their frequency of being involved in duels is very similar: 5.8 for Lindelof and 5.5 per game for Torres.

Torres does win more of those duels on average (3.4 to 3.3), but the difference is negligible. As for their respective abilities to sniff out danger, Lindelof also comes out on top with regards to interceptions, averaging 1.1 per game to Torres' 0.7.

Such metrics can often be skewed when an individual – in this case Lindelof – is playing for a team expecting to spend more time in possession against most opponents they come up against.

It underlines that Torres is generally a passive centre-back, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as Maguire is rather different, but it is a key aspect United would have to take into consideration if they are to make a move for him.

The caveat for Torres' blind spots, however, is that he is still only 24 and 2020-21 is just his second full season in LaLiga – he does have plenty of time to develop.

His exceptional technical skills at least provide him with a solid platform to build from, but would the other side of his game mean he would be considered an upgrade over Lindelof?

The Europa League final will be his final audition and an opportunity to prove how his strengths outweigh any weaknesses.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not expect Harry Maguire to feature in the Premier League again this season but remains hopeful he will be fit for the Europa League final.

United captain Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage when he collided with Anwar El Ghazi during a 3-1 win at Aston Villa last Sunday.

The England centre-back was at Old Trafford on crutches wearing a protective boot on his left foot for a 2-1 loss to Leicester City on Tuesday, a defeat that sealed the title for Manchester City.

Solskjaer thinks Maguire's top-flight campaign is over with three games to play, but is optimistic he will face Villarreal in Gdansk on May 26.

The United boss said on the eve of Thursday's Premier League encounter with Liverpool: "The good news was it wasn't broken. There was no fracture, but a ligament injury of course is serious as well.

"If I'm very positive - that's maybe stretching it - I'm hopeful that he might be ready for it [the Europa League final]. I don't think he'll play in the league again before [the end of the season]. We'll do everything we can to get him ready for the final."

Solskjaer said there should be no concerns that he might take a risk by playing Maguire with Euro 2020 on the horizon.

"You always try to look after players long-term. If he's fit, he'll play for us, if he's not he won't," said the former Norway striker.

"As I said, we're hopeful that he's ready. If he's ready for us, he'll probably be ready for the Euros. Norway are not in the Euros, so I'm not really that concerned [about the Euros]."

Solskjaer made 10 changes to his starting line-up for the defeat to the Foxes and will rotate again when they face Champions League hopefuls Liverpool, given United are amid a schedule of four games in the space of 10 days.

"There will be changes of course but many of the players that played tonight did really well so they're in contention as well," he added.

"It's about managing the squad now and building momentum, building confidence, making sure we get enough points to get second and then going into the final confident."

Gareth Southgate is set to bring up 50 games in charge when England start their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup.

San Marino are the visitors to Wembley Stadium for the milestone match, with Southgate the seventh to make it to a half-century at the helm for England.

His record so far is impressive: 29 wins, 10 draws and 10 defeats. He has also introduced some notable names to international football, many of which will form the backbone for the Three Lions in this year's delayed Euro 2020 tournament. 

In total, 42 players have made their senior debuts under the current boss. Plenty have made an impact, though some have fallen by the wayside since getting a taste of the senior team. 

HITS 

Jesse Lingard 

Lingard is the only member of the current England squad to have made his debut in Southgate's first match in charge, a 2-0 win over Malta in October 2016. The 28-year-old was a key member of the 2018 World Cup squad but has not featured for his country since the Nations League Finals nearly two years ago, having struggled for minutes at Manchester United. 

However, a January loan move to West Ham has paid off. No player has been involved in more goals – Lingard has scored five while also providing two assists – since his debut for the Hammers in February. Southgate – who advised the player to remain in the Premier League – has duly taken note, handing him a recall. 

Harry Maguire 

Maguire made his first England appearance against Lithuania in October 2017, when he was playing for Leicester City. The centre-back quickly established himself in Southgate's side for the World Cup semi-final run, while he has continued to be a mainstay since for the national side.  

Indeed, the Manchester United defender has missed just 14 possible outings for club and country since that maiden outing, starting 28 out of England's 30 matches. 

Kieran Trippier 

Paris was the setting for Trippier's bow, the full-back handed a chance in a 3-2 friendly defeat against France that saw him start alongside then-Tottenham team-mates Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane. 

Now playing his club football in Spain with Atletico Madrid, the 30-year-old continues to be a key attacking outlet for Southgate's teams. His total of 55 chances created since June 2017 is comfortably the highest for England, with striker Kane second on the list with 37. 

Jordan Pickford 

No player has both played and started more games for England under Southgate than Pickford, whose debut came in November 2017.  With 30 appearances, he sits one ahead of Maguire.

The Everton goalkeeper will not be involved as his manager celebrates his 50th match at the helm, though, as an abdominal muscle injury sees him missing for March's World Cup qualifiers. His absence also offers some of his rivals for the starting job an opportunity to stake their claim to be considered number one, with Pickford's form having been somewhat unconvincing for a while.

Declan Rice 

Rice's introduction to action for England came via a substitute appearance during a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic two years ago, replacing Alli just after the hour mark. 

The midfielder started all six of the Nations League qualifiers in 2020-21, including scoring his first international goal in a 4-0 triumph over Iceland. As for his club career, only Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole played more minutes in the Premier League for West Ham than Rice before the age of 22.


MISSES 

Nathaniel Chalobah 

Having represented England through the youth levels from under-16s upwards, Chalobah has so far played one solitary minute for the senior team, with his late, late opportunity coming against Spain in October 2018.  

Since then, the former Chelsea midfielder has started just 42 league games for Watford. This season he is plying his trade in the Championship, contributing three goals and an assist as the Hornets aim for an immediate return to the top flight. 

Dominic Solanke 

Solanke was part of the England squad that won the 2014 European Under-17 Championship, including scoring in a final against the Netherlands that was eventually settled by a penalty shoot-out. 

His senior debut came against Brazil in November 2017, but he has not been involved since. The striker signed for Bournemouth in January 2019 but failed to score in his first 38 Premier League appearances for the club, a barren run finally ended with a brace against Leicester in July 2020. He has been far more prolific in the Championship, getting 11 goals.

Lewis Cook 

Cook had success with England at youth level, captaining the squad that went all the way at the Under-20 World Cup. Solanke was also involved in that tournament, along with full internationals Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Dean Henderson - who was not first choice in goal - and Fikayo Tomori. 

The midfielder's maiden appearance for the senior side earned his grandfather a tidy windfall through a winning bet, but that outing as a substitute against Italy at Wembley remains his only cap. Since then, he has started 58 games for Bournemouth, scoring once. 

Jack Cork 

Another to be handed a late cameo by Southgate, Cork featured for all of four minutes in a friendly with Germany in November 2017. A young line-up that included new faces Pickford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek managed a 0-0 draw at Wembley. 

The midfielder – who was part of the Great Britain squad coached by Stuart Pearce at the 2012 Olympic Games in London – was a regular at Burnley before injuries hampered him in the current season, restricting him to just nine league outings for Sean Dyche's team in the 2020-21 campaign. 

Lewis Dunk 

Dunk has helped Brighton and Hove Albion rise from League One to the Premier League, with his performances earning him an England opportunity against the United States in November 2018. He started in a 3-0 win that saw Wayne Rooney make his 120th and final appearance for the Three Lions. 

The centre-back has not featured since, however, despite remaining a mainstay for his club. Since August 2018, Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (10) is the only defender to have scored more Premier League goals than Dunk's impressive total of nine.  

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