KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- No point waiting until the last minute on Friday night. England manager Gareth Southgate named his 26-strong squad for the UEFA Euro finals more than 24 hours ahead of their last warm-up match against Iceland at Wembley.

Manchester United centre back Harry Maguire was the surprise omission after failing to overcome a calf injury while and Manchester City forward Jack Grealish was also omitted despite his bright cameo as a substitute in Monday’s 3-0 defeat of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Newcastle when he created a goal for Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Other players left at home from Southgate’s initial 33-strong ‘long squad’ were goalkeeper James Trafford (Burnley), centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Liverpool’s Jarell Quansah and Curtis Jones as well as Tottenham playmaker James Maddison.

Tough decisions: England manager Gareth Southgate

In a statement on social media, Maddison said he felt he deserved a place in the squad but respected Southgate’s decision. He wrote: “Devastated doesn’t quite cut it. Trained well and worked hard all week but if I’m honest with myself, my form for Spurs when coming back from injury in the second half of the season probably wasn’t at the levels I had set, which gave Gareth a decision to make.”

Grealish, 28, was largely sidelined for much of City’s historic fourth title run-in and remained on the substitutes’ bench in the FA Cup Final defeat by neighbours United.

The exclusions of Grealish and Maddison allowed Southgate to take both shadow striker Ivan Toney and Ollie Watkins.

Form failures

Southgate justified his decisions by commenting that neither Grealish or Maddison had not played up to expectation in domestic competition,

He said: “All of the players took the news really respectfully. Of course all players are going to believe they should be in and that’s why they are top players because they have that self-belief and that mindset as well.

“The fact is we’ve got some players who have been playing extremely well all season in the league and we just feel other players have had stronger seasons, particularly in the last six months or so. I think we saw some fantastic performances the other night that underlined some of that.

“The attacking areas of the pitch in particular, we’re blessed with a lot of options, all slightly different.

“Both James Maddison and Jack Grealish give us something slightly different as well. So they’ve been tough calls. Both of the boys are big characters, fabulous team-mates, great boys to work with. So it was sad to deliver that news to them.”

Shaw complication

England are not without injury concerns, most notably leftback Luke Shaw (hamstring)who has not played senior competitive football since mid-February. However Shaw hopes to be fit by the second group game against Denmark on June 20, whereas Maguire would not have been fit for any of the group stage.

Southgate said: “Shaw’s progressed well in the last couple of weeks. At the moment, we think he can have some involvement in the second group game. I think you can take one gamble and that’s the gamble we believe can pay off.”

Maguire has been one of the most favoured of Southgate’s players over the past seven years.

Southgate said: ““You know how I feel about Harry Maguire and what he’s done for England. The decision is totally about his physical condition. Harry is one of our strongest centre backs.

“He’s made some progress but it’s been complicated. Given we haven’t got a clean bill of health across the rest of the backline as well, then we need cover, players who are fit and ready to go from the start.”

Shaw has not played since his side’s win over Luton Town on February 18. He missed the last 17 matches of United’s season, including the FA Cup Final victory over Manchester City.