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David Seaman: Rashford will rebound from England disappointment

30 May | BY David Seaman | MIN READ TIME |
David Seaman: Rashford will rebound from England disappointment

In his latest Betway column, the former England No. 1 reacts to the 33-man squad ahead of Euro 2024 and previews the warm-up matches.

Check out Betway’s Euro 2024 guide for all the information you need ahead of the tournament.

I really like the look of the 33-man England squad ahead of the warm-up matches. Our strength in depth is brilliant and there are some exciting first-time players in there, so it’ll be a good experience for them to be around the camp.

I’m intrigued to see how we perform in the friendlies. During my England career, the manager would usually pick the spine of the team in these warm-ups – the goalkeeper, two centre-halves, two midfielders and then a striker – then put in the players he wanted to have a look at.

There is a balancing act because you want to win the game. You don’t want to go into the tournament on a negative, so ideally you score two or three and then start making changes. It’s all about gaining confidence and momentum.

Sad to see Rashford miss out

It was a big surprise to see Marcus Rashford left out. With good players, I’m always mindful of what they’ve produced in the past. When they go out of form like Rashford has, it doesn’t mean they’re going to stay out of form.

It’s sad to see one of England’s best players struggling, though, because everybody knows what Marcus is capable of. He’s a proper professional, but his form’s not there, and that’s the puzzling part of it.

People have suggested he could leave Manchester United, but if it was me, I would stay. They haven’t had the best of seasons – aside from winning the FA Cup, which is a real positive – but it’s a massive club. Clubs don’t come much bigger, except maybe Real Madrid or Barcelona, but you don’t join those clubs unless you’re playing well. He needs to regain his form for United. It’s been one season on, one season off for him, which means next season should be a good one!

Echoes of Gazza

The Rashford situation makes me think back to Glen Hoddle leaving Paul Gascoigne out for the 1998 World Cup. The day started with the whole squad playing golf. I played with Gazza, Ian Walker and Phil Neville on that day, and none of them were in the squad, so I think I might have been the jinx!

We all had our allotted times to see the manager, and when Gazza went in, I had no idea of what was going to happen. He found out he wasn’t going and had a huge argument with Glen Hoddle. Gazza was so devastated, it was hard to pick him up and get him on the plane home.

I’d never have imagined that would be the end of his England career. He wasn’t always fit, but he was still so brilliant and always seemed to make an impact. Once the manager’s made that call, though, it doesn’t look good. It can happen in football – you get left out once, and that’s it, you’re done.

Rashford has got a much better chance of getting back into future England teams, though. We know he’s a good player and he’s not dealing with any kind of injuries, like Gazza was. We all knew that Gazza would produce a moment of magic, and I still feel that Rashford can do that.

Henderson omission leaves midfield gap

Jordan Henderson missing out was the other surprise. I was 50/50 on Jordan being in the squad, because my only question was who else would be a holding midfield player if Declan Rice got injured? It might be Trent Alexander-Arnold, but then you’re in a situation where players are out of position, and that’s not good.

Adam Wharton’s been doing really well for Palace, and he gives Gareth another option in midfield. It’s the first time he’s ever been called up, so you’d be thinking he may not make it, but young players go into these games and often just play off talent. They’ve got no scar tissue from bad form or negative press, they just enjoy it. But I think that might be a little bit too much for Wharton, so I’d maybe select Curtis Jones instead, who has played more big games for Liverpool.

Long before the squad was named, somebody asked me about Kobbie Mainoo and I thought it might be a little bit too early for him. I compared him to Theo Walcott being called up back in 2006. But after he’s played in the last few England games, it now looks like he’s definitely in the squad and probably going to play. You look at how old he is, and it’s brilliant for England that we’ve got this conveyor belt of players that just keep coming and coming. They’re getting younger, but the standard that they’re setting is fantastic.

Big decisions ahead for Southgate

It’s a big squad, and getting it down to 26 is going to be extremely difficult for Gareth. It’s hard to see who you could leave out.

James Maddison and Jarrod Bowen both have a good chance because they’ve been involved in quite a lot of the squads before. Everyone knows what Jack Grealish can do, so I think he goes. Eberechi Eze might struggle to make it. Gareth always likes to bring players in that that are on form, but he also likes to have players that he knows that can do it under pressure. That’s where someone like Grealish has got a lot of credit.

At the back, Jarrad Branthwaite has to be an option because he’s a left-footed central defender, and we don’t have a left-footed left-back, other than Luke Shaw. I’d be looking at Marc Guehi as the third-choice centre-back, because I always sway towards people that have had experience at this level. Ezri Konsa hasn’t had much time playing for England, and although Jarell Quansah has been brilliant for Liverpool, he’s had no experience at international level. Lewis Dunk’s been in the squad for quite a few times now, but didn’t have a great last appearance.

Of the strikers, I’d love to have Ivan Toney in the squad just for penalties, but you can’t do that! On form, I would go with Ollie Watkins. He’s had a fantastic season. The two of them are very close, and you’d consider taking both because Harry Kane is nursing an injury and none of the midfielders are really capable of stepping up to play as a striker, but then you’d bd leaving out a fantastic midfielder, which shows the depth of quality we’ve got. If I had to choose, I’d take Harry Kane and Ollie Watkins.

My England XI

Here’s how I’d set the team up for the first game of the Euros:

GK: Pickford

DEF: Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw (if fit)/Tripper

MID: Rice, Mainoo, Bellingham

FWD: Saka, Foden, Kane

David Seaman

David Seaman

Legendary goalkeeper who won three league titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal, and made 75 England appearances.

David Seaman

David Seaman

Legendary goalkeeper who won three league titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal, and made 75 England appearances.