Chelsea and Man Utd stars given fresh Euro 2024 hope as UEFA release new squad statement | Football | Sport

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Chelsea and Man Utd stars given fresh Euro 2024 hope as UEFA release new squad statement | Football | Sport

UEFA has confirmed it will hold a meeting with participating teams at this summer’s Euro 2024 to discuss the prospect of expanding squad sizes from 23 to 26 players. The governing body is set to listen to the views of coaches and assess whether to make a widely desired change ahead of the tournament in Germany.

England manager Gareth Southgate has been among the crowd clamouring for increased squad capacities for a third successive international tournament amid concerns over player welfare.

Countries have traditionally been permitted to take 23 players to major international tournaments, including three goalkeepers.

However, UEFA allowed 26-player squads at the delayed Euro 2020 three years ago as a safety precaution during COVID-19 restrictions.

Those regulations remained at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but it has been expected to revert to squads of 23 at this summer’s European Championships.

UEFA has announced that it is listening to concerns and will open the floor to the coaches of the 24 teams participating in Germany next month.

A UEFA spokesperson said: « We have taken note of comments expressed by some national team coaches on the squad size for EURO 2024.

« A workshop with the participating teams will be held on April 8, and on that occasion, UEFA will listen to the views of the coaches. Any idea in this respect will then be considered and assessed. »

There are growing universal concerns over footballers’ workloads due to hectic fixture schedules throughout the season, which have contributed to increased injury problems.

Injuries hampered England’s March friendlies against Brazil and Belgium at Wembley Stadium. Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, and Kyle Walker were among the star names who withdrew from the camp.

Following Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Belgium, Southgate suggested talks with UEFA were on the horizon.

« There is one more UEFA meeting where there’s been a little bit of talk amongst some of the coaches about possibly increasing that, given where we are now, » Southgate explained.

« We’ve got to make the best decisions with what we know and some of those currently are going to be medical decisions.

« And we’ve been able to get those right in the previous tournaments. We’ve been able to give people time, but with 23 that’s definitely more difficult. »

A decision to allow 26-man squads could hand lifelines to big names whose selection statuses are up in the air, including Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Chelsea’s Cole Palmer.

It would prevent potential headaches like choosing between Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney to provide Kane with competition or the wealth of right-backs.

Southgate reportedly plans to name an extended squad of around 30 players at the end of May before preparations commence at St George’s Park.

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