Grealish and Maddison next? Eight England players who recovered after pre-tournament axe

Jason Soutar
Former England players Peter Shilton, Rio Ferdinand, Tony Adams and Scott Parker
Former England players Peter Shilton, Rio Ferdinand, Tony Adams and Scott Parker

James Maddison and Jack Grealish are two of the Unfortunate Seven dropped from Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2024. Will the Tottenham and Manchester City men come #backstronger or are their international careers about to fall by the wayside?

Here are eight Three Lions stars who will be thankful they fall into the bracket of the former, going on to have a great England career after being dropped from a preliminary tournament squad. You can read the latter list right here.

Eight players to shine for England following preliminary squad heartbreak

Scott Parker (2010 World Cup)
South Africa was a shambolic tournament for Fabio Capello’s England, who bowed out with their tails between their legs after a 4-1 humping at the hands of those pesky Germans.

Capello had James Milner, Gareth Barry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick at his disposal so saw no need to include West Ham midfielder Scott Parker, who would be dropped from his original 30-man preliminary squad.

Parker joined Darren Bent, Adam Johnson, Leighton Baines, Tom Huddlestone and Theo Walcott in being left disappointed but he bounced back and became an integral member of Roy Hodgson’s squad, starting every game at Euro 2012 (another shambles) and being named England Player of the Year despite West Ham’s relegation in 2011.

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Rio Ferdinand (Euro 2000)
England’s Euro 2000 squad included young superstars Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry but there was no place for future Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand, who was left out of Kevin Keegan’s 22-man squad having been included in an initial 28-man squad.

Ferdinand never played in a European Championships for England due to suspension in 2004 and their failure to qualify in 2008 but the centre-back would appear at two World Cups, missing out in 2010 after hurting his knee. Lucky sod.

The 97-cap star was in that 2006 World Cup squad that really ought to have done better.

David James (Euro 2000)
The only black goalkeeper to play a full international for England, former Liverpool and Portsmouth shot-stopper David James made his senior debut in 1997 but failed to make the final cut for Euro 2000.

James became a mainstay in squads under Sven Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello, coming in for Rob Green after his calamitous error in the Three Lions’ opener at the 2010 World Cup after replacing David Seaman as No. 1 in 2002, keeping his place despite West Ham’s relegation and playing every minute at Euro 2004 in Portugal.


Phil Neville (1998 World Cup)
The younger Neville brother hardly had an outstanding international career after Breaking On To The Scene in 1996, but he certainly bounced back from being omitted from Glenn Hoddle’s ’98 squad, going on to play another 47 times for his country.

He never made a World Cup appearance but Phil found value under Kevin Keegan, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Scott McClaren.

And he’s always our No. 50.


Tony Adams (1990 World Cup)
Arsenal legend Adams played every minute at Euro ’88 but fell out of favour after the dismal showing in Germany that included defeats to the Netherlands, USSR and Ireland. After falling out of favour under Bobby Robson, Adams missed out on the 1990 World Cup squad after being included in the 26-man shortlist.

After a miserable spell that included snub after snub and England failing to qualify in 1994, Adams would captain his country at Euro ’96 on home soil, played every minute in France two years later, and featured for 82 minutes at Euro 2000, which was another embarrassing tournament for the Three Lions.


David Seaman (Euro 1988)
Uncapped despite several call-ups, David Seaman was named in the preliminary squad for Euro ’88 but did not make the final cut, eventually making his debut in a friendly draw against Saudi Arabia in November 1988. The goalkeeper did not look back, representing his country for the next 15 years.

Seaman did not solidify himself as England’s first-choice goalkeeper until the mid-90s, playing every minute at Euro ’96 and the ’98 World Cup. He also featured in England’s first two matches at Euro 2000 and was No. 1 at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, conceding that infamous goal to Ronaldinho as the Three Lions were eliminated in the last eight.


Bryan Robson (Euro 1980)
Manchester United legend Bryan Robson made his England debut a few months before Euro 1980 got underway and despite receiving his second cap in the final friendly before the tournament, he was one of three ditched from the prelim squad by manager Ron Greenwood. Another unfortunate sole was Robson’s West Brom teammate Peter Barnes, who was a dropped preliminary player in ’80 and again in ’82.

Robson would go on to become one of the biggest stars in world football, making 90 appearances for England, notching 26 goals along the way.

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Peter Shilton (1970 World Cup)
We are going way back here but Peter Shilton is worth it. Regarded as one of the greatest England goalkeepers of all time alongside Gordon Banks, he would make 125 caps for England after missing out on the final 1970 World Cup squad.

It is impossible to talk about Shilton without mentioning (especially when you are not English) that he got outjumped by a 5ft 5in Diego Maradona. Hand of God or not, that should never have happened. Though he gets very upset if you point it out.

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