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International football’s Mr Conservative Gareth Southgate takes machete to England squad in one of most brutal shake-ups

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INTERNATIONAL football’s Mr Conservative has taken a machete to his squad in one of the most brutal England squad shake-ups in recent memory.

Gareth Southgate has built a reputation in the Three Lions hot-seat by sticking to what he knows, and who he knows, in order to navigate major tournaments without any dramas.

Gareth Southgate has shown his ruthless side by taking an axe to some England regulars

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Gareth Southgate has shown his ruthless side by taking an axe to some England regularsCredit: Getty
The likes of Jordan Henderson and Marcus Rashford have been KO'd from the Euros squad

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The likes of Jordan Henderson and Marcus Rashford have been KO’d from the Euros squadCredit: Getty

Reliable, experienced faces with trust in the bank and little to no surprises on offer that have managed to reach finals and semi-finals in tournaments gone by.

But ahead of this summer’s Euros – a competition that England are expected to win and win well – Southgate appears to be throwing caution to the wind in a bid to excite and amaze.

Ben Chilwell, Jordan Henderson, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling have all been left out of Southgate’s provisional 30-man squad – the latter three boarded the plane to Qatar in November 2022.

And in come the young guns – Crystal Palace duo Eberechi Eze and Adam Wharton, Liverpool’s Curtis Jones and Jarell Quansah, Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Burnley keeper James Trafford.

Is Southgate finally picking on current form and potential instead of past heroics? It looks that way.

In truth, Henderson waved goodbye to his England career the minute he stepped off the plane in Saudi Arabia after deciding to leave Liverpool last summer.

The 33-year-old risked it all for mega-bucks at Al-Ettifaq and ultimately, it has massively backfired, with his Three Lions legacy in tatters, despite his January move to Ajax.

Sterling has not been in an England squad since the World Cup in Qatar, but his omission remains a statement from Southgate – the old guard no longer have a guarantee pick.

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Chelsea teammate Chilwell has struggled with injuries this term, but there was an expectation he would still be included to prove his fitness, but it is not to be.

Leaving out 60-cap Rashford is probably the biggest statement of the lot, a man that Southgate has leaned on and publicly backed for years has now fallen foul.

Jordan Henderson left OUT of Gareth Southgate’s 30-man squad for Euro 2024

Rash Decision?

MARCUS RASHFORD will be hurting, but he can have no complaints.

His omission from Gareth Southgate’s 30-man provisional Euros squad has been a long time coming with his Manchester United form plummeting week on week.

And this term has seen England boss Southgate – a loyal selector of the United forward during his darkest moments – make one of the toughest calls of his tenure to date.

Rashford, 26, has scored just eight goals in all competitions for Erik ten Hag’s side this campaign – his joint-second worst return in his entire career.

He had a decent impact at the Qatar World Cup last November, scoring twice, and netted most recently in a 3-1 home win over Italy in Euros qualifying last October.

But they were just fleeting moments in what has been dismal period for the Red Devil. Hopefully this is the catalyst that will prompt him to turn his career around.

His form at Manchester United is the joint-second worst of his entire career, while several off-field incidents have far from helped his cause.

The new additions will get their chances to shine in front of Southgate for friendlies on June 3 and June 7 against Bosnia and Iceland.

Wharton, 20, has been a sensation for Palace in midfield since arriving from Blackburn in January, while Reds centre back Quansah has had a meteoric rise this calendar year.

Uncapped Jones, Branthwaite and Trafford have done it on the England U21 stage and they have earned their promotion.

The future is bright, and Southgate is ready to shake things up in order to reflect that.

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International football’s Mr Conservative Gareth Southgate takes machete to England squad in one of most brutal shake-ups

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