With four games before EURO 2020, Gareth Southgate open to new faces breaking through

Friday 10 Jan 2020
England boss Gareth Southgate is assessing all options ahead of EURO 2020
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England manager Gareth Southgate is open to the idea of players making last-minute cases for their inclusion in his squad for Euro 2020. 

The Three Lions will face four friendlies prior to the competition this summer including visits to Wembley from Italy and Denmark at the end of March before a trip to Austria and a home game against Romania in June. 

Southgate has acknowledged that there's been a core group of players that have been integral to his team's qualification but has not yet closed the door on peripheral players. 

And the remainder of the domestic season and the the four upcoming preparation games, kicking off with Italy and Denmark at Wembley on 27 and 31 March, can be the perfect platform for those yet to cement a place in the England boss' plans.

Pre EURO 2020 Games
  • England v Denmark - March 27
  • England v Italy - March 31
  • Austria v England - June 2
  • England v Romania - June 7

"We know from the group that was with us in November, there are another ten or 12 players that have either been with us in the last few months or an important part of where we got to and haven't been with us yet," said Southgate. 

"And we know there are probably a core group of players who we believe should form part of the squad for the summer, who we know are good enough and we should be building around them. 

Kane and Sterling scored 20 goals combined in qualifying

"But then there are others that we think can come in and really add to the group. 

"That competition for places is critical because everyone needs pushing and the best way to do that is other players of a high level of quality who are able to come in.

“We're very open minded on that."

England topped their qualifying group with seven wins out of eight while captain Harry Kane finished with more goals than any other player scoring 12 times during the campaign. 

Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford were also key contributors for Southgate netting eleven times between them but the qualifying campaign also saw Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount, Harry Winks and Tammy Abraham all grab their first goals for the national team.

England training ahead of their trip to Kosovo last year

There'll no doubt be some tricky decisions for Southgate to make before EURO 2020 kicks off on June 12 but he is pleased with the plans that have been laid out for his team ahead of the competition.

“I think for the games in March, we view them as the need to test ourselves against the teams who are in the top ten of Europe, for sure," he added. 

“Then the games closer to the competition, it's important to get the team back playing, get a balance of minutes for players as they finish the league season and make sure we're in a good rhythm as a team.

“So there's different objectives really for those four matches, but we're pleased with the programme that we've put in place.

“We know we were very happy with how we got that preparation for Russia and it won't be exactly the same this time, because it's a different sort of tournament and we're based in England for a longer period, but we think there were some principles we got right that we should carry in for this tournament as well."

By Tom Dean