Burnley captain Heaton makes cut for England’s Nations League Finals squad
Burnley captain Tom Heaton has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for the Nations League finals next week.
The 33-year-old goalkeeper was included in an initial 27-man squad 10 days ago and has made the final cut.
Tottenham Hotspur duo Kieran Trippier and Harry Winks and Southampton pair James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond miss out from the original long squad.
However, Ward-Prowse and Redmond will remain in training with the rest of the group for the time being.
England take on the Netherlands at the Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimarães on June 6th in the semi-final, and should they triumph, the World Cup semi-finalists will then take on the winner of the other semi-final between Portugal and Switzerland on June 9th.
Heaton, who has three caps for his country, said: "It is a trophy and there has been a buzz around England since the World Cup and before the World Cup.
"It has been nice for me to get back involved in it and I am certainly looking forward to it. A semi-final and hopefully a final against some top sides and the carrot is there at the end of it so everyone is looking forward to taking it on."
Southgate added: “We have got exciting players and picking a squad is really difficult because we have lots of depth of talent, not only the squad we have picked but the U21s as well.
“There has been some difficult decisions to make and we are obviously a little bit complicated with so many players involved in the Champions League as well but we are really excited by the squad and the players that are around it.
“It is similar to the preparation for the World Cup because people arrived at different times depending on whether they were finished at the end of the league season, played in the FA Cup or played in the Champions League. It was the same last year so we have got used to working with the group in that way.
“And what is nice is you get another burst of energy as each group arrives - so today (Monday), Raheem [Sterling], Kyle Walker, John Stones and Jadon [Sancho] in for the first time. Again, the training shifts up another level and everybody is excited to be back together and we will get that again next week when the rest of the team report as well.”
Explaining the difficult decisions he had to make, he said: “Some players who have had really good finishes to the season like James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond are staying with us for this period to train because although we have cut the squad to 23, we have still got two weeks to get through and two really big finals ahead. So some of those calls are even more difficult.
“Harry Winks is a player we really like and that’s a tough one because he has not played for a couple of months and we don’t get to see him in training. He is back training with Spurs, he might be involved at the weekend but we wouldn’t see him until two days before the game. So when we had other midfielders who are either with us or who are playing regularly, that was the only thinking behind that decision. Harry could still come into that mix and has done very well for us whenever he has played with England, so is a player we like.
“Of course, Kieran Trippier has had such a big impact, he had such a brilliant World Cup. He has been a really valuable member of our squad and has a great attitude with us, real passion in playing for England but Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and Kyle [Walker] have finished the season so strongly. So it is a position where we have got real competition for places. That is as hard a decision as we have had to make.”
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE FINALS SQUAD:
1 – Jordan Pickford
2 – Kyle Walker
3 – Danny Rose
4 – Eric Dier
5 – John Stones
6 – Harry Maguire
7 – Jesse Lingard
8 – Jordan Henderson
9 – Harry Kane
10 – Raheem Sterling
11 – Jadon Sancho
12 – Joe Gomez
13 – Jack Butland
14 – Ben Chilwell
15 – Michael Keane
16 – Declan Rice
17 – Fabian Delph
18 – Ross Barkley
19 – Marcus Rashford
20 – Dele
21 – Callum Wilson
22 – Trent Alexander-Arnold
23 – Tom Heaton