Ahead of this summer’s Euros, England boss Gareth Southgate has announced his 33-player, 26-man squad for the tournament, proving maths has never been his strong point.
Despite what appears to be the inclusion of every man and their dog, Southgate has managed to leave out a number of high-profile players who are said to be angry and betrayed at a man who once upon a time acted like their friend.
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Today, Paddy Power News can exclusively reveal that within minutes of the squad going public, Southgate received a number of calls from Eric Dier, a regular for Southgate over the years.
“He called me 488 times between 1pm and 1:25pm,” confirmed Southgate.
“To be honest, I don’t know what to tell him. He’s not very good at football and plays in a rubbish team. He’s called me on my phone, via Skype, Zoom, Teams, plus text, WhatsApp’d emailed, and Facebook messaged me. I guess this is my own fault for acting like his friend instead of his manager.”
When asked how he will deal with the Dier situation, Southgate offered some insights into life as England manager/friend.
“I’m going to turn my phone off for a few days” he replied.
“A bit of ghosting goes a long way in today’s society. I really can’t be arsed to speak to him. He doesn’t just look like a giant baby, but he often acts like one too, so what I’ll do is let all calls go to voicemail for a few days in the hope he calms down.
“If he’s still getting on my case over the weekend, I’ll just pop into EE and see if they can give me a new sim-card with a new number.”
Tottenham’s Eric Dier missing out wasn’t the only surprise from Southgate, with both Danny Ings and Patrick Bamford failing to make the shortlist.
Having been regular goal scorers in the Premier League this season, many were convinced at least one of the strikers deserved a place in the squad, however Southgate thought otherwise.
“Yes, in an ideal world it would have been nice to have a 48-player, 26-man squad to allow for extra attacking quality and proven goal scorers to call on should we need them, but I had to make space for Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone, as you can never have too many relegated goalkeepers in the frame.
“Had Fulham’s Alphonse Areola been English and not French, I would have included him in the squad too. We actually investigated to see if he had any English grandparents, but c’est la vie.”
While there might not be any long-term ramifications for leaving out Ings, sources on Twitter are suggesting Patrick Bamford has already been contacted by both the Irish and Welsh Football Associations for copies of his birth certificate and family tree.
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