John Stones and Kyle Walker have been declared fit enough to be selected for England's Nations League clashes against Hungary, Germany, Italy and Hungry again in the first two weeks of June. Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish have also been named in the 27-man squad, which includes five right-backs and no left-backs.
Explaining his selection, Southgate says the larger squad is to allow for all players to get a mixture of playing time after a long, tiring season – something that may please Pep Guardiola, who is often concerned with his players being overworked on international duty and not getting enough rest between seasons.
“We have picked extra numbers as we have quite a few doubts at the back,” Southgate said of his defensive selections.
“It is a bit of a minefield, in terms of players who have missed football and are coming back from injuries. Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell haven't played anything at all. Marc Guehi is a doubt.
“Fikayo [Tomori] has had a very good season with AC Milan and I talked in March about wanting to have a look at some of the young centre-backs coming through and some of these guys are slightly ahead of Tyrone [Mings], who has always played well for us. At the same time we have to make opportunities for good young players to have a look at them.
“I speak with a lot of the managers about different players. We've given all the players a week off this week which not everyone has done, but we feel like that has worked well for us. We want to manage the load of minutes, that's why there's a bigger squad. All the players are carrying niggles after a long season, but they all want to be here.”
Southgate also confirmed that Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has been left out due to his involvement in the Champions League final, and that teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold will leave the camp midway through so he is not overworked following the same game.
That could give Walker, who has only just returned from injury, more time to recover before featuring in the final two games of the camp, or at least given a more managed workload.
Southgate explained: “The decision around Jordan Henderson – I don't need to know any more about him and he's played a lot of football this season. Trent likewise, he'll probably be with us for the first part of the games and then that's enough for him.
“I was very conscious with the Champions League boys – they've had a remarkable season really and couldn't have been involved with any more games. We've learnt in the last three or four years from players we've had involved in that match that the emotional fallout, win or lose, is very high.