Merson ‘shocked’ by omission of Man Utd star from England squad as Southgate leaves out Rashford

Joe Williams
Man Utd and England forward Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford looks dejected during an England match.

Paul Merson is “shocked” that Gareth Southgate has chosen to leave out Man Utd forward Marcus Rashford from the England squad for Euro 2024.

Southgate announced the Three Lions’ 33-man provisional squad on Tuesday afternoon for the European Championships, which are being held in Germany,

Two of the biggest stories from his announcement were the omissions of both Ajax midfielder Jordan Henderson and Man Utd forward Rashford.

Rashford has been disappointing for Man Utd this season, scoring just eight goals in 42 appearances in all competitions, but he’s still played seven matches for England this season.

Southgate did leave him out against Belgium in the March international friendlies and now he’s been omitted from the England boss’ training squad for the Euros.

Reacting to the news, Arsenal legend Merson insists he’s only “shocked” by the news because Southgate usually picks his favourite players even “if they are out of form”.

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Merson said on Sky Sports: “I think it’s huge news, huge breaking news. As you say 60 caps, been in tournaments, scores goals and you can rely on him. If it was any other time, you would probably say that it’s not a shock. But with Gareth, he picks people if they are out of form. He picks people even if they aren’t in their team. I am really shocked.

“I know people will sit there and say ‘oh, the way he has playing’ and he hasn’t been good. But tournament football is so, so different to any other tournament.

“I would have taken him. 100% I would have taken him. I don’t know if it’s anything to do with up here (mentally). I don’t know if Gareth has talked to him and that’s the reason. I don’t know what’s going on in the lad’s life. But as a player, he has played in tournaments before. It’s so important.

“Tournament football is like no other tournament. Different to friendlies when you are playing at home to Brazil – you lose pace, you lose and he has scored goals in tournaments. He can play on the wing and he can play up front. He’s hot. He is one of them hot players. He can be freezing cold, don’t get me wrong. He can be really cold, but when the lad catches fire and he is hot, then he is unplayable. That’s what you need to win tournaments.”

England provisional squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), James Trafford (Burnley).

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Jarell Quansah (Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Curtis Jones (Liverpool), Kobbie Mainoo (Manchester United), Declan Rice (Arsenal), Adam Wharton (Crystal Palace).

Forwards: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).