Southgate provides explanation about 'calculated risk' in England squad selection

Luke Shaw played his last match this season in February and only participated in fifteen games for Manchester United this football year due to various injuries. Nevertheless, he received a call-up for the Euros, and coach Gareth Southgate explains why he considers this a 'calculated risk.'

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 10:30, 7 Jun 2024

"For the left-back position, we have taken a calculated risk with Luke Shaw. He is worth the risk," said Southgate, who has few left-footed defenders available, while there is an abundance of options on the right.

This is partly why Shaw gets a call-up for the Euros, even though he might only be able to play as early as the second group match against Denmark.

Shaw's experience as a left-back and his offensive capabilities are significant factors in his inclusion. Despite his limited playing time this season due to various injuries, Southgate believes Shaw's qualities and prior performances for the national team justify the risk. Former PSV player Jarrad Branthwaite, also a left-footer, was dropped from the preliminary squad. "He has had a fantastic season, but for him, the Euros come a bit too soon," said the coach, despite the surplus of right-footed defenders.

Harry Maguire did not receive a call-up, which was also due to the large number of right-footed players, but this worked against the United defender. In the last tournaments, nine defenders were called up each time, and Southgate wanted to stick to that number again. The decision to exclude Maguire was tough, especially considering his significant contributions to the team in the past.

"If we had waited for him (Harry Maguire), we would have had ten defenders in the squad, which would not have been good for the balance of the team. We would have shortchanged ourselves in other positions. Although Harry showed recovery, we wouldn't have been able to use him during the group stage. It was a difficult decision because you know what he has meant for England and for me as a manager." According to the coach, Lewis Dunk, Marc Guehi, and Ezri Konsa are good replacements for Maguire in central defense.

Without Marcus Rashford, Jordan Henderson, and Maguire, there is a lot of experience missing from the England squad. "Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Declan Rice, and Harry Kane," Southgate mentioned when asked about leader types. "And Kieran Trippier is also very close to that group."

Southgate's strategy reflects a blend of experienced leaders and promising young talent. The inclusion of players like Marc Guehi and Ezri Konsa signifies a forward-thinking approach, aiming to build a robust and dynamic team for the future. Despite the absence of some seasoned players, Southgate is confident in the leadership and skill set of those selected. The balance between experienced players and newcomers is intended to create a versatile and resilient squad capable of competing at the highest level in the Euros.

Updated: 10:30, 7 Jun 2024