Eberechi Eze was to have been part of England’s provisional squad for Euro 2020 before the Crystal Palace forward suffered the achilles injury that has ruled him out for at least six months.
In a cruel twist, Eze discovered he was part of Gareth Southgate’s plans immediately after hurting his achilles in training for his club last week. The 22-year-old, an England Under-21 international, returned to the dressing room and found a message from the Football Association telling him that he was in the senior squad for the first time.
It is highly unlikely that Eze, who has impressed for Palace since his move from Queens Park Rangers last summer, would have been part of the final 26-man squad that Southgate is due to name on 1 June. However, the fact that he was due to be part of the larger group is a sign that the playmaker, who also qualifies for Nigeria, is in England’s thinking for the future.
England’s manager delayed plans to name his final squad on Tuesday because of injury concerns and the involvement of 12 English players in this week’s Europa League and Champions League finals. Manchester United face Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday and the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City takes place on Saturday. As a result, England will be without their United contingent when they play Austria in a warm-up game on 2 June and their Chelsea and City players are likely to be absent against Romania on 6 June.
England, who start their European Championship campaign against Croatia on 13 June, have injury concerns over Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips. Southgate, who called up Brighton’s Ben White and Everton’s Ben Godfrey for the first time, has not received an update on Maguire’s fitness and he also needs be careful with Jack Grealish’s workload following the Aston Villa winger’s return from a shin injury.