Roy Hodgson has confirmed his final 23-man England squad for the European Championship, with Danny Drinkwater and Andros Townsend cut.
Fabian Delph had already dropped to the standby list for the tournament in France, leaving Hodgson to give the bad news to two more players named in his provisional 26-man squad.
Drinkwater’s omission was widely expected despite his excellent season with Leicester City, but Townsend was one of several players said to be fearing for their place in the squad, with Daniel Sturridge and Ross Barkley in particular reported to be vulnerable.
It is Townsend, however, that ultimately misses out on a place on the plane to France.
Marcus Rashford was the stand-out name in a young, bold and attacking squad.
Having initially intended to reveal his final selection on May 12, Hodgson instead named a 26-strong group after the final round of Premier League matches in order to assess the fitness of some key players.
That decision also allowed the coaching staff to take a closer look at Manchester United striker Rashford, who netted eight goals in 18 appearances after bursting on to the scene in late February.
The 18-year-old went on to score 138 seconds into Friday’s international debut and was named man of the match in the 2-1 friendly win against Australia, complementing some impressive training displays.
Hodgson, Ray Lewington and Gary Neville clearly saw enough from the precocious striker as, 96 days after making his club debut, they included him in the squad heading to France.
Rashford found out about his selection at England’s team hotel at Tuesday lunchtime, having returned to The Grove following a session at Watford’s nearby training ground in London Colney.
The 23-man squad were called into a short team meeting and informed they had made the cut, as well as finding out the numbers they would be wearing in France.
— Daniel Sturridge (@DanielSturridge) May 16, 2016
Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson were all chosen despite questions over their fitness, while left-back Ryan Bertrand was included despite receiving treatment on a knock.
The Football Association is expecting the entire squad to be fit for England’s Group B opener against Russia on June 11, even if Thursday’s final warm-up match against Portugal comes too soon.
Drinkwater and Townsend will watch the Wembley encounter from afar having left out of the squad, with Hodgson due to explain his decisions in detail at Wednesday’s pre-match press conference.
The duo were told they had not made the cut in private meetings in Hodgson’s room, with both said to have been very respectful and mature in the manner they took the news.
Drinkwater is believed to have missed out on the squad due to the coaching staff’s decision to plump for an additional striker rather than an extra midfielder.
Disappointed not to make the final 23! Would of been a fantastic experience to go to the euros as a player… But I'll be supporting the country like I always have! The seasons been a huge positive for me.. Going into next season as a premier league champion! Good luck to the lads… Bring it home 🙌🏼 #england
“Disappointed not to make the final 23!” the Leicester man posted on Instagram.
“Would of been a fantastic experience to go to the euros as a player… But I’ll be supporting the country like I always have!
“The seasons been a huge positive for me.. Going into next season as a premier league champion! Good luck to the lads… Bring it home #england”
Newcastle winger Townsend missed the World Cup two years ago through injury and was regularly picked by Hodgson, even when struggling for game-time at former club Tottenham.
Obviously gutted to fall at the final hurdle but wishing the boys all the best of luck at Euro 2016 #ComeOnEngland
— Andros Townsend (@andros_townsend) May 31, 2016
Townsend said on Twitter: “Obviously gutted to fall at the final hurdle but wishing the boys all the best of luck at Euro 2016 #ComeOnEngland”
Hodgson’s decision means England will have three goalkeepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders and five forwards in France.
Sturridge has been given number 15 and Rashford will wear 22, while Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy take up shirts nine, 10 and 11.
Tottenham pair Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have been given the number two and three shirts ahead of full-back rivals Nathaniel Clyne and Bertrand.
Hodgson’s men begin Group B against Russia in Marseille before taking on Wales in Lens on June 16 and travelling to St Etienne on June 20 to face Slovakia.
England squad for Euro 2016: Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, James Milner, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy, Nathaniel Clyne, Fraser Forster, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, John Stones, Eric Dier, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Ryan Bertrand, Marcus Rashford, Tom Heaton.