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Euro 2024: Who will make Gareth Southgate’s England squad?

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Kobbie Mainoo receives a hug from Gareth Southgate
Has Kobbie Mainoo done enough to convince Gareth Southgate to put him in England’s Euro 2024 squad?

England manager Gareth Southgate saw his reshuffled side earn a late draw against Belgium in their last match before he names his squad for the Euro 2024 finals.

The international break was the final opportunity for a number of players, not fully assured of their spot in Southgate’s 23-man choice, to stake their game.

With the Three Lions boss naming his preliminary squad on 21 May, here is a look at the players all-but in the squad, who is almost booked in, those who have work to do and ones with an outside chance of making it.

First though here is the 23-man squad I would pick.

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Sam Johnstone.

Defenders: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Ezri Konsa, Joe Gomez, Luke Shaw.

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Kobbie Mainoo, Jude Bellingham, James Maddison, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson.

Forwards: Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Ivan Toney, Marcus Rashford, Jarrod Bowen, Anthony Gordon.

On the plane

Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Kyle Walker, Kieran Tripper, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, James Maddison, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane.

Southgate will hope Shaw recovers sufficiently from a serious muscle injury which makes his prospects somewhat doubtful as he is unlikely to play another club game for Manchester United this season.

It is a combination of trusted lieutenants such as Pickford, Walker and Stones combined with an array of outstanding talent such as Rice in midfield providing the base for the two superstars Bellingham and Kane further forward.

Almost there

Sam Johnstone, Joe Gomez, Kobbie Mainoo, Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon, Ivan Toney. Marcus Rashford.

Is Marcus Rashford suddenly facing a fight for his place in the Euro 2024 squad?

Manchester United’s forward is not the racing certainty he was not so long ago. He was only used for 15 minutes over the two friendlies against Brazil and Belgium but may make it based on his experience.

Crystal Palace keeper Johnstone would be third choice keeper behind Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale but he has a worrying elbow injury.

Mainoo is the “bolter” – the player who has come late to make a case to be in the Euro 2024 squad for Germany – and indeed a start given his performance in the 2-2 draw against Belgium. Newcastle United’s Gordon falls into the same category after impressing Southgate against Brazil.

Liverpool’s Gomez is an attractive proposition for his versatility along the defence.

Brentford’s Toney made a strong pitch to be Kane’s understudy ahead of Aston Villa’s Watkins with his all-round display against Belgium.

Work to do

Lewis Dunk, Levi Colwill, Ezri Konsa, Marc Guehi, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Jarrod Bowen, Jack Grealish, Conor Gallagher, Ollie Watkins. Cole Palmer.

Veteran Henderson will be relying on Southgate’s loyalty and need for experience and may get in while Phillips has more or less disappeared off the radar for now as he struggles on loan for West Ham United.

West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen was excellent against Belgium but can he force his way in among some heavy competition? He has certainly given Gareth Southgate real food for thought. He could not have done more.

It was a difficult international break for Brighton’s Dunk, who made mistakes that led to goals against both Brazil and Belgium. He may now be out of contention while Chelsea left-back Chilwell also struggled. Crystal Palace defender Guehi would be a strong contender but is another struggling with injury.

Cole Palmer will hope to be rewarded for an outstanding season at Chelsea following his move from Manchester City – but there is a real fight for places in that area.

Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins may also feel concern that he has been overtaken by Ivan Toney in that battle as Kane’s deputy.

Manchester City’s Grealish would have been an automatic squad choice not so long ago but he has been dogged by injury problems and faces a battle to recover before he can even press his claims again.

Outside chance

Jack Butland. Fikayo Tomori. Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Jarrad Branthwaite. Eberechi Eze.

This small group is relying on injuries to make Euro 2024 – little or no chance in reality.

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Paris Olympics 2024: ‘Unprecedented’ security operation will be in place, says Games chief

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Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet says the Games will protected by an “unprecedented” security operation, and that preparations are “in good shape”.

But with 100 days until the start of the Olympics, he said organisers will “keep some humility, because we know in this kind of event anything can happen in the last stretch”.

Estanguet added he was “very satisfied with where we stand at this moment”.

He told BBC Sport: “My message is you can have confidence with this event.”

Amid mounting concerns over safety, Estanguet said “I would like to reassure that it’s non-negotiable. Security is the priority.”

“It’s the biggest event that France has ever organised, and we want to showcase the best of France. So definitely we are determined to be ready.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the world in Paris.”

“When I discussed this with [London 2012 chief] Seb Coe, he told me…in the last 100 days, there will be more criticism, more people worried. It’s exactly what is happening. My role is to remain calm, remain focused on what is very important to deliver.

“The venues are ready, the budget is balanced. We have very good ticket sales, the level of ambition is very high.”

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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang

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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.

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