Bizarre reason why England boss Gareth Southgate might not use full 26-man squad for Euro 2024

England manager Gareth Southgate says he may not use all of his available 26 squad slots for Euro 2024.

Sides who qualified for Euro 2024 were initially only allowed to name 23 players, as per UEFA regulations.

But the decision was made last month to increase the quota to 26 players, with several managers having been critical of plans to reduce the squad sizes.

The 26-player squads were in use for tournaments during the Covid-19 pandemic, with UEFA wanting to return to previous numbers for Euro 2024.

But speaking to BBC Sport, Southgate has revealed that he may not take 26 players with him to Germany – even though he can.

Discussing the increased squad size and his existing injury issues, he explained: “We’ve had 26 for the last two [tournaments].

“There are positives to that, in that in both of those tournaments we had players that weren’t fit at the beginning, that we were then able to take a chance on.

“Probably three or four of the defenders that you’d expect to be in the final squad haven’t appeared for a few weeks, or even a few months. So we have got some challenges in terms of availability at the moment.

“Maybe the additional squad will help us with that. We don’t have to take 26, and there’s no point in taking more players than we need.

“But it might allow us to take a chance on a couple of players that have got injuries at the moment.”

Southgate’s comments appear to suggest that should his first choice squad members be available, the England boss may decide to take fewer players than the 26 allotted to him for Euro 2024.

One team that is set to name 26 players are hosts Germany, who are unveiling their squad members individually in order to avoid leaks, according to Kicker.

Centre-backs Nico Schlotterbeck and Jonathan Tah, of Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, have already been confirmed for the squad, with all players set to be unveiled by Thursday.

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