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In England, as part of the build-up to the Euro 2020 (2021) tournament, there has been much discussion between fans about the inclusion of both Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire - who have either just returned from injury and lack any real match fitness (JH), or are currently suffering an injury (HM) - in the final 26-man playing squad for the tournament.

When questioned on the inclusion of these two players, the England manager Gareth Southgate responded:

I think [Maguire is] such a good player and we had the additional size of squad, the fact that that leadership which is growing in him all the time

[...]

They both have a bit to do to be available but we feel the possibility they can play a part and the fact they are such fantastic characters to have around the group

[...]

Hendo, his leadership and presence is already having an affect on people, especially the younger ones in the group but all the others as well.

Source - Evening Standard

It is clear that Southgate sees both these players as key leadership roles in the squad (both are also captains of their respective domestic teams), and as such deems them a calculated risk to include them into the squad.

But given that taking injured players, or out of fitness players, to a tournament is a risk - especially when there are deemed to be in-form replacements available - are there any rules which prohibit the manager from taking players as part of the "backroom staff", as opposed to them being in the playing squad?

Obviously JH's/HM's leadership skills would be better served if they were on the pitch, but given the apparent importance of leadership to Southgate, is there anything stopping him from keeping them around the playing squad, for their leadership, without actually being part of it throughout the tournament?

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  • You mean, like, hire them on as coaches? Why would that be prohibited? – Joe Jun 8 at 16:33
  • @joe - Less hired as coaches, more taken on as temporary support staff, in this case, to provide a leadership-type role for the squad. They are registered as players, I was wondering if there were any such rules that say something along the lines of "If this person is a player, they must be part of the playing squad to be involved at all during the tournament". – ImClarky Jun 8 at 16:48
  • But they would, or would not, be on the list of people eligible to take the field at any point in the tournament? If not, then that seems like a coach to me (not necessarily an explicit coaching position, but it's the same idea, NFL and MLB teams for example do this with older players all the time when they've retired). – Joe Jun 8 at 16:54
  • No, they would not be able to play, or be on the bench for games - I used the term "backroom staff" as this is a generic term that is normally used to encompass coaches, physicians, doctors, etc. - ie anyone involved behind the scenes that is not part of the playing squad - if that translates as 'coach' to you, then yes :) - in football, players that are not picked for the national squad are generally "returned" to their club and are not involved. I was wondering if there was anything preventing them being involved as I would imagine that having them about would be useful. – ImClarky Jun 8 at 17:13
  • Ah,. ok - so your concern is mostly with the clubs, whether the national team is allowed to "borrow" them for coaching/nonplaying duties? (Otherwise, why would they not be able to, I'm sure the national team can hire anyone they want who's not barred due to some contract, right?) – Joe Jun 8 at 17:15

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