ENGLAND manager Gareth Southgate admitted “you never want to give bad news” after James Ward-Prowse was cut from his Euro 2020 squad.

The Saints skipper was one of seven names to be trimmed down from the original 33-man group, as the Three Lions finalised their final 26-man party for this summer’s tournament.

Ward-Prowse had been regarded as an important figure in the Three Lions setup, and a regular in recent squads.

But reports surfaced on Sunday that the 26-year-old would not make the cut for the final squad, set to compete in this summer’s tournament.

His fate was confirmed as England’s final squad was finalised hours before UEFA’s deadline for submissions.

Mason Greenwood withdrew from selection due to injury, while the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben Godfrey, Ben White, Jesse Lingard and Ollie Watkins were also not selected.

Ward-Prowse could however still feature in England’s friendly with Austria at Middlesbrough tomorrow night, as well as Sunday’s showdown against Romania.

Asked how tough it was to leave out the seven men cut from the group, Southgate said: “You never want to give bad news.

“Anybody that’s been in a leadership position – it’s lovely to give people debuts, it’s lovely to bring people into the squad for the first time. It’s much harder to deliver difficult news.

“With the lads this time, there were three of the boys who really knew they were coming in for the experience of training with us – they are with us for these two matches and who knows what might happen?

“They have trained really well and we are really pleased with Ben Godfrey, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale. They have added a lot to the group.

“Mason Greenwood unfortunately had to pull out on Friday. We knew he wasn’t a contender over the past few days.

“For me personally, it was very difficult to speak with Jesse (Lingard), who has given so much for England, performed so well for England over a long period of time. James Ward-Prowse who has been our captain with the under-21s and then Ollie Watkins who has had a tremendous season with Aston Villa.

“Those three, I gave them the option of going home if they wanted to, but they were all adamant they wanted to stay – they wanted to be part of the group – they know they will be involved in these two matches.

“Their commitment has been exemplary and their professionalism has been brilliant. It meant that yesterday (Monday) afternoon, when I had the conversations with those players – although they were disappointed, they knew where they stood.

“It’s meant that the atmosphere around the camp has stayed positive and very relaxed.”

Ward-Prowse went into the England camp having played every minute in the Premier League for the past two seasons.

He also netted his first senior international goal in March, during a 5-0 World Cup Qualifying win over San Marino.

Southgate added: “I think every squad is difficult because we have a lot of talented players in this country.

“The most difficult thing is to not be able to take players who’ve been with us in previous matches and who are such good professionals.

“So, I know what a disappointment that is for them at the moment not to be going to a major championship.

“But we still have two friendlies to get to, and there’s been plenty of examples over the years where there have been injuries in those friendlies that have ruled people out.

“So, there’s still time for those guys even though they’re not in at this moment in time."