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Wayne Rooney sends message to Harry Maguire about England squad omission for Euro 2024

In Europe
June 08, 2024

Wayne Rooney believes Gareth Southgate made the right call in axing Harry Maguire from his final England squad for Euro 2024 given his calf problems.

He also says the Three Lions boss is right to include Manchester United teammate Luke Shaw – injured since February – given the sparse options at left-back. Rooney nevertheless warns that the defence is England’s weak point in the squad.

Maguire says he is “devastated” to be left out of the squad but admitted he might have “pushed myself too hard” in trying to return from his injury. The defender missed United’s final five games – including the FA Cup final – with his calf issue and did not play in England’s friendly win over Bosnia & Herzegovina on Monday.

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Rooney says Southgate has been wise in not risking Maguire given the options England boast there, something which cannot be equated at left-back. “Normally you’d wait until after the game in case of any injuries but I think Gareth has taken any doubt from the players,” Rooney told Channel 4.

“Everyone knows who’s in the squad and the preparations can start for the first game. Harry Maguire was injured so couldn’t make it but I would have liked to have seen [Jarrad] Branthwaite in the squad, he’s had a fantastic season at Everton and gives balance on the left side of the centre-backs. I was really surprised at that one.”

He added: “Where before I’ve gone into the tournament injured or Becks maybe, especially now with the way the game is, it’s difficult to get your fitness and get into the tournament. I think Gareth has taken that away and he’s picked players who are fit.

“Luke Shaw is the only one really I think, but he could potentially be fit for the second or third game but there’s a lack of left-backs in the squad so you can afford to do that with Luke. With Harry he has probably made the right decision.”

Despite strength in numbers, Rooney questions England’s stability at the back. He cited the lack of recent game time afforded to John Stones towards the end of Manchester City’s season and the fact Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi has 11 international caps.

He continued: “Defensively a little bit of concern but if we can get the balance right in the team than we’ll be very difficult to beat.

“I think it’s good enough but John Stones hasn’t played a lot of football lately, he obviously played the FA Cup final. Guehi, is he experienced enough? Beyond that there is a lack of experience in the centre-half positions.

“You just hope Stones can stay fit and the lads can get confidence from the group stages. I think they will comfortably get through the group and then the tournament really starts.”

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