To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

England fans divided as Gareth Southgate calls up surprise player to Euro 2024 camp days before Serbia match

England fans divided as Gareth Southgate calls up surprise player to Euro 2024 camp days before Serbia match

Gareth Southgate says he will play "an invaluable role on the training pitch" in Germany.

Fans are divided after Gareth Southgate made a late addition to England's Euro 2024 camp, just days before their Group C opener against Serbia.

It was announced on Monday afternoon that experienced Manchester United shot-stopper Tom Heaton will join the England camp this summer as a 'training goalkeeper'.

Heaton, who last played for United in a Carabao Cup clash against Nottingham Forest in February 2023, will support the trio of Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson for the duration of the tournament.

Gareth Southgate explained the decision further, saying: "I am really pleased Tom has agreed to join us in Germany.

"Experience tells us that a tournament can put a lot of demand on our goalkeeping group led by Martyn Margetson. Tom will play an invaluable role on the training pitch supporting Jordan, Aaron and Dean."

He added: "Off the field as someone we all know well, he will add to the positive environment we are always looking to create. We are grateful to Manchester United for their support in making this happen."

Heaton, who won three senior caps for England between 2016 and 2017, was a member of the squads at Euro 2016 and the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals.

He reacted to the news, saying: "Incredibly honoured to be asked by Gareth to join the squad. To get the call to go to a major tournament, to help in anyway I can and pass on my experience is a proud moment.

"We have a great squad, I’m excited and can't wait to join the group."

The news comes after seven players were omitted from England's 33-man provisional squad, including Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford.

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Heaton's late inclusion certainly sparked plenty of debate online.

One fan said: "Great decision to have Tom Heaton joining the England squad as a “training goalkeeper” supporting Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson. Heaton is one of the most popular, respected players in the game, also for his PFA work and leadership during Covid."

A second wrote: "Why not call a young GK like James Trafford for that? Integrate into the team and give him tournament experience."

A third commented: "I mean I understand this... but why not take Trafford if he's the future," while a fourth wrote: "He's very good personality and in the dressing room leader he will help young lads."

A fifth added: "Could Trafford not go? Surely you’d get the next batch of up and coming internationals ready for the next tournament by bringing them to the Euros so they understand what the environment is."

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Heaton will join up with the England squad in the coming days as they prepare for games against Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: England, Gareth Southgate, Euro 2024, Serbia