German and English FA form alliance to block Euro 2020 squad increase

England manager Gareth Southgate is against the idea for a squad increase at Euro 2020

England to form an alliance with Germany to try and block Euro 2020 squad increase from 23 to 25 with Gareth Southgate heavily against the idea

  • UEFA are considering raising the number of players in squad from 23 to 25 
  • England manager Gareth Southgate doesn’t believe an increase is necessary 
  • Southgate has concerns bigger squads could be much harder to manage 

The FA are working with their German counterparts to block proposals for larger squads at this summer’s Euros.

UEFA are considering raising the number of players permitted from 23 to 25 amid concerns over fatigue following the congested season, but after taking soundings from England manager Gareth Southgate, the FA are against the idea.

Southgate believes 23 players is more than enough for a tournament at which teams will play a maximum of seven matches. 

England manager Gareth Southgate is against the idea for a squad increase at Euro 2020

The 50-year-old also has concerns that a bigger squad could be harder to manage due to the inevitable frustrations felt by those who do not feature, and is eager to avoid dragging fringe players away from their families during the summer.

Southgate’s feelings are borne out by England’s recent tournament history, which shows that a number of players remain unused even when the squad is 23.

England played seven matches at the 2018 World Cup, including a dead-rubber group game against Belgium and the third-place play-off against the same opponents, yet Southgate still did not give any game-time to reserve keepers Nick Pope and Jack Butland. Danny Welbeck, Gary Cahill and Trent Alexander-Arnold made one appearance each.

Southgate didn't use his full squad when England reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018

Southgate didn’t use his full squad when England reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018

In England’s disastrous Euro 2016 campaign, which ended with a humiliating last-16 defeat by Iceland, John Stones, James Milner, Ross Barkley and reserve goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster were also unused by Roy Hodgson, and Jordan Henderson, Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne only made a single appearance each.

The FA’s position is shared by the German DFB and they have both made representations to UEFA, who will come to a decision next month. 

The push for 25-man squads is understood to largely come from the Dutch and Italian federations.

Holland coach Frank de Boer and Italy boss Roberto Mancini have injury concerns over key players Virgil van Dijk and Giorgio Chiellini respectively, and bigger squads would enable them to take more risks with selection.

Holland boss Frank de Boer believes the increase in numbers will be help manage injuries

Holland boss Frank de Boer believes the increase in numbers will be help manage injuries

Southgate has fitness concerns over Henderson, Jack Grealish and Declan Rice, but considers 23 players adequate cover.

An alternative proposal under consideration by UEFA is for each of the 24 competing countries to name a lengthy reserve list of players, who would train away from the main squads but be ready to be called up in the event of a Covid outbreak. 

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