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England stars have theory over Euro squad cull based on secret Southgate signals


Gareth Southgate has admitted he was reluctant to pick a squad for the Euros because the players would be left guessing.

And it is refreshing to hear that even highly-paid, elite superstar footballers never lose those schoolboy nerves about whether they are going to be picked.

In fact, word reached this column that a little theory is going round the squad as to who will make the cut for the final 26 man squad based on whether they got a text or a phone call.

The majority of those who think they are nailed on for a place got a text from the Football Association telling them they had been called up. It generally comes from FA Team Manager Emily Webb.

But those who are on the edge, got a call from England boss Southgate telling them they were in… but the chat among some players is that might not be such a good thing.



BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MAY 25: England manager Gareth Southgate announces his provisional squad for UEFA EURO 2020 at St Georges Park on May 25, 2021 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)
England players reckon Gareth Southgate has given away his secret

For example, Southgate rang Ben White and Ben Godfrey to tell them they were in and has been speaking regularly to Trent Alexander-Arnold. An omen? Let’s see.

But one or two who did not think they were stitched on for the Euros now think getting a text is a very good sign.

Southgate did call Eric Dier to tell him he was not in the 33 man provisional squad which was a heartbreaking phone call. Earlier in the season, Michael Keane rang Southgate to ask for reasons why he was left out in March.

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Journalists spend hours looking for little clues and pointers, fans are left wondering and picking their choices… and how nice to know that even big names never lose those nerves.

Meanwhile, England will be using Rockliffe Park as their training base as they prepare for the friendlies with Austria and Romania in Middlesbrough next week.

And as soon as they leave, Scotland move in to use it as their Euro training base. Just imagine the pranks and traps any practical jokers could leave behind…

Dean Henderson expected to take Man Utd and England No.1

There could be a timely shake-up at Manchester United in the goalkeeper department.

Even before David de Gea’s penalty misery in the Europa League final, there is a real issue at Old Trafford as to which direction the keepers are going.

The expectation was on Dean Henderson to overtake de Gea as the long term No1 which would immediately put him in pole position to be England’s first choice.



Dean Henderson is set to be Man Utd’s No.1 next season

But Henderson, who does not lack anything in self belief, has struggled at times this season and now the bigger question is whether United should start all over again and look for a new big signing.

It was telling that Tom Heaton returned to the club on a free transfer this week and the assumption is that he will go in as their new No3 but he is also seen as a good character, maybe a steadying influence and a good one to have around a department filled with uncertainty.

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Steve Bould sacking adds questions to Arsenal

Arsenal sacking Steve Bould as under-23s coach last Friday caused shockwaves as another member of the old guard left the club.

It raises the question as to whether youth development or results are more important at that level as Arsenal ’s under-23s underperformed but they loaned players out while also produced the likes of Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka for the first team.



Steve Bould was sacked by Arsenal last week

Either way, Bould – who has been associated with the club as player and coach for 30 years – was axed by academy boss Per Mertesacker in a one-on-one meeting and that may yet not be the end of the matter.

It is also a big summer for technical director Edu who is under pressure as they look to rebuild the squad. The Kroenkes are ready to back Mikel Arteta in the market with up to four new signings but there will also have to be more players going to balance squad numbers.

Joey Barton raises eyebrows by axing coach

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton continues to make as many waves as a manager as he did as a player.

His decision to axe goalkeeper coach David Coles has left many within the game as he has such a huge reputation and is known as one of the best and Barton’s disparaging comments about the set-up have caused raised eyebrows.

Those who used to buy into Barton’s pseudo intellectual image are less vocal these days.

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AFTV and Moh Haider clash over Palestinian flag

Arsenal Fan TV have had an ugly split over using ever-popular Moh Haider.

Haider has often worn a Palestine logo on a top, was asked to remove it but the station did not like it when he called them out. And still none of the anti-racism groups of campaigners seem interested in having a view on the Palestine flags issue.





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