England manager Roy Hodgson says he found it difficult to lose two players from his squad for UEFA EURO 2016 – but praised Danny Drinkwater and Andros Townsend for their reaction.
The Three Lions boss named his final 23-man group for this summer's finals on Tuesday afternoon, with Drinkwater and Townsend the pair to miss out along with Fabian Delph, who was released last week.
"It was a very tough decision for me," Hodgson told the media in his press conference ahead of Thursday's friendly against Portugal.
"I was very happy with the 26 and delighted with the way the three guys who didn't get selected for the final 23 worked.
"Yesterday was a difficult day for me, having to tell them that they weren't going to be in the final 23.
"But I must say that the players were fantastic. They were unbelievably understanding of the need that I have to make a decision.
"They were unbelievably disciplined and professional about the whole thing and, of course, they ended by wishing everybody well and even saying that they enjoyed the preparation time.
"They made the job as easy for me as it could possibly be, but it was still a tough one.
"I'm satisfied now that I've got the 23 players that I want to take, and we can settle down now and focus on the task ahead."