LONDON: Gareth Southgate set aside his loyalty strategy in omitting Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford and midfielder Jordan Henderson from a provisional squad to prepare for the European Championship finals in Germany in June and July.

The 33 names included four uncapped players in Liverpool’s Curtis Jones and Jarell Quansah, Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Crystal Palace’s Adam Wharton but perhaps only Branthwaite may make it to the finals.

Southgate will cut his squad to 26 by the June 7 deadline after friendly matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Newcastle and Iceland at Wembley.

England manager Gareth Southgate

Rashford, 26, has scored 17 goals in 60 appearances, including three at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but has struggled for form this season with only seven goals and two assists in 33 league appearances. He played in seven England games this season before being left out against Belgium in March.

Henderson was overlooked after injury compounded a mixed-up season which saw him move from Liverpool to Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia and then Ajax Amsterdam. He was in the squad for March friendlies against Brazil and Belgium but did not play.

A surprise inclusion in a squad light on leftbacks was Manchester United’s Luke Shaw who has not played since February 18 because of a muscular injury.

Southgate said: “Your heart, of course, wants you to take all of those players that have been with you for so long. These are difficult calls about very good players who have been an important part of what we have done.

“With Marcus [Rashford], I feel players in the same area of the pitch have had better seasons, it’s as simple as that. Hendo is a fantastic professional, an

exceptional individual and fantastic human being. But after the injury he picked up in our last camp he missed five weeks and hasn’t been able to regain the intensity we need since then.

“This has been as complicated a group as I can remember picking. There’s a lot to think about over the next couple of weeks.”

Southgate is always reticent to commit himself to forecasts but admitted: “Are we one of those teams that can win? Yes, absolutely. These players know what is possible, they know what they’ve won at club level and what that’s demanded of them.”

Provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), James Trafford (Burnley).

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Jarell Quansah (Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Curtis Jones (Liverpool), Kobbie Mainoo (Manchester United), Declan Rice (Arsenal), Adam Wharton (Crystal Palace).

Forwards: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).

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