The Manchester United centre-back has been named in the 26-man squad for the tournament despite currently nursing an ankle ligament injury.
He is yet to join up with the group as he quarantines following his return from United’s Europa League final defeat in Poland and Southgate says the former Sheffield United and Hull City defender is a doubt for the game at Wembley on June 13. However, the boss had no hesitation in including him in his squad.
“It is going to be tight for the first game, there is no question,” Southgate said.
“He is such a good player and because we had the additional size of squad, we wanted to take that opportunity to bring him into the squad.
“We know exactly where he is at, he has not travelled yet to us because of the quarantine issues coming back from Poland.
“He has got a bit to do. Like Hendo (Jordan Henderson), they have both got a bit to do.
“We feel the possibility is they can play a part and the fact they are such fantastic characters around the group, especially with the younger ones, given we were able to pick 26 we felt the opportunity to have those two with us is straightforward.”
Southgate attracted attention for naming four right-backs with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James all making the cut.
He added: “We went through this last week. We have four players that play sometimes at right-back for their clubs.
“Basically they are in the best 26 footballers and that is why they are in the squad.
“If I could have picked five or six right-backs I would have done.
“We are here to play nine games. We already have some injury doubts in the group. We need adaptability, good players, good professionals and we are fortunate we have old and young players to do that.”
Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins were among the six names cut from the 33-man provisional squad.
Mason Greenwood withdrew through injury on the morning of the announcement, with uncapped trio, Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale, York-born Ben Godfrey and former Leeds United loan defender Ben White also missing out.
Southgate said: “I think every squad is difficult because we have a lot of talented players in this country.
“But we still have two friendlies to get to, and there’s been plenty of examples over the years where there have been injuries in those friendlies that have ruled people out.
“So there’s still time for those guys even though they’re not in at this moment in time.”
England’s Euro squad: Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Man Utd), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton); Defenders: John Stones (Man City), Luke Shaw (Man Utd), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Man City), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Reece James (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid); Midfielders: Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds); Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Man City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Jadon Sancho (B Dortmund), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).
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