Gareth Southgate has left ‘best England goalkeeper’ out of Euro 2024 squad, says Souness

Will Ford
Souness Pickford England
Graeme Souness reckons Gareth Southgate has left England's 'best goalkeeper' at home.

Gareth Southgate has been ‘very loyal to Jordan Pickford’ and has left ‘the best English goalkeeper’ out of his Euro 2024 squad, according to Graeme Souness.

Pickford now has 61 caps for the Three Lions and has been Southgate’s No.1 in each of the three major tournaments he’s managed England at.

The 30-year-old also enjoyed an excellent season for Everton, keeping 13 clean sheets, and was in many people’s Premier League team of the season, including Jamie Carragher’s and Alan Shearer’s.

‘I’m surprised he hasn’t earned a place’

But Souness reckons Southgate left a superior option – who managed 18 league clean sheets last season but hasn’t played for England since 2018 – at home.

‘Gareth has also been very loyal to Jordan Pickford, which I can understand, but, for me, there is another goalkeeper who should be going to the tournament,’ Souness wrote in Daily Mail column.

‘I’ve watched Jack Butland several times playing for Rangers this season and he is the best English goalkeeper around. I’m surprised he hasn’t earned a place.’

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Palmer to force his way in

Souness also believes Chelsea star Cole Palmer will have a significant part to play in Germany this summer, and was pleased to see Southgate opt for some young players in his squad.

He added: ‘I’m really pleased Adam Wharton has got in. I really like the Crystal Palace midfielder. I’ve said before he knows the responsibilities and discipline required of a midfielder and has real quality. Kobbie Mainoo is good on the ball but Wharton has greater understanding of the position.

‘In Wharton, Mainoo and Cole Palmer you have three young players who have seized their chance and are full of confidence, but Palmer will give his manager a major headache. England’s real strength is in their firepower. Gareth is blessed in the forward positions but I just sense Palmer, if he can replicate his Chelsea form, will give a performance, maybe from the bench, that will make it very difficult to leave him out. I believe it came down to a straight choice between Palmer and Maddison and he has gone for the in-form player.

‘There are only seven games including the final so this is not for players scratching for form. That’s seven games to hit the ground running but the strength in this squad makes me believe England are favourites to win it.’