Ferdinand backs Southgate’s ‘surprise’ snub amid claim England hopeful would’ve been ‘found out’

Lewis Oldham
Ferdinand England
Rio Ferdinand backs Gareth Southgate's decision.

Rio Ferdinand has backed Gareth Southgate’s decision to leave Jarrad Branthwaite out of his squad for Euro 2024 as the defender is “not ready”.

Branthwaite was included in Southgate’s provisional 33-man squad for Euro 2024 after the centre-back enjoyed a breakout season in the Premier League with boyhood club Everton.

“It is a bit early for Jarrad…”

The 21-year-old struck up a great partnership with James Tarkowski and his form has fuelled speculation linking him with a mega-money move to Man Utd. 

Despite this, Branthwaite will not be going to Euro 2024 as he was one of the Unfortunate Seven to miss out on Southgate’s final 26-man squad for the tournament. 

Explaining his decision to leave out Branthwaite, Southgate argued that this tournament has come a “bit early” for the talented defender.

“I think it is a bit early for Jarrad. He has had a fabulous season and it was good to get him on the other night,” Southgate said.

“Of course, in an ideal world, you would like lots of left-footers. But, to put him ahead of the others, I don’t think that would have been the right call at this stage.

“That is why we have taken what I think is a risk at left-back with Luke [Shaw], but I think that is a risk worth taking.”

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Ferdinand and former Lioness Fara Williams have explained why they agree with Southgate’s call to omit Branthwaite.

Williams said: “I don’t see Branthwaite as a surprise – I know people do but I just don’t see it as a surprise.”

Ferdinand agreed: “Nor do I. I don’t see it as a surprise.”

Fara added: “He can defend, he’s made blocks, he makes covering runs – but we’re talking about an England team that want to play with the ball.”

To which, Ferdinand continued: “The way that Branthwaite has played this season – and he’s done really well at Everton, really well. The clean sheets etc, just the fact that they stayed up and he’s been a main part of that is great.

“But he’s defending a lot of the time on the edge of his box, like a low block team. England don’t want to play like that – England want to have the ball and pass and start attacks, and he hasn’t shown that he can do that yet at a top level.”

When Fara suggested Branthwaite could have been ‘found out’ at Euro 2024, Rio jumped in: “I don’t know about found out. He’s just not ready.”

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