Soccer-Austria delay naming squad for European Championship

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FILE PHOTO: World Cup Qualifiers Europe - Group F - Austria v Faroe Islands

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria delayed finalising their 26-man squad for the European Championship over concerns about the fitness of three key players, coach Franco Foda said on Wednesday.

Captain Julian Baumgartlinger, forward Marko Arnautovic and midfielder Christoph Baumgartner need more time to establish their readiness for next month's tournament and Foda instead decided to name a 30-man preliminary selection.

He has until June 1 to trim the selection to 26.

"I wanted to fix the final squad today but we need more time to check the condition of the players, so I've made 30 picks and we'll finalise the squad next week," Foda told a news conference.

He said he would insist players were 100% fit before being selected.

Baumgartlinger has returned to training at Bayer Leverkusen after his cruciate ligament injury at the end of January and Foda was hoping he would get a run out in his club's last Bundesliga game of the season at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Baumgartner is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered playing for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga earlier this month while the 32-year-old Arnautovic missed his last match in the Chinese Super League because of a thigh strain.

"With Marko we have to wait to see how bad it is once he arrives but we are positive he will be OK," Foda added.

Uncapped Mainz 05 defender Phillipp Mwene is the only surprise selection.

Austria begin their preparations at Bad Tatzmannsdorf from May 27-June 1, before heading to Middlesbrough, where they play a friendly against England on June 2. After that, they have a final warm-up game against Slovakia in Vienna on June 6.

Austria's group games at Euro 2020 are against North Macedonia (June 13 in Bucharest), the Netherlands (June 17 in Amsterdam) and Ukraine (June 21 in Bucharest).

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Daniel Bachmann (Watford), Pavao Pervan (Wolfsburg), Heinz Lindner (FC Basel), Alexander Schlager (LASK Linz)

Defenders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Aleksandar Dragovic (Bayer Leverkusen), Marco Friedl (Werder Bremen), Martin Hinteregger (Eintracht Frankfurt), Stefan Lainer (Borussia M'gladbach), Philipp Lienhart (Freiburg), Phillipp Mwene (Mainz 05), Stefan Posch (Hoffenheim), Christopher Trimmel (Union Berlin), Andreas Ulmer (Salzburg)

Midfielders: Husein Balic (LASK Linz), Julian Baumgartlinger (Bayer Leverkusen), Christoph Baumgartner (Hoffenheim), Florian Grillitsch (Hoffenheim), Stefan Ilsanker (Eintracht Frankfurt), Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig), Valentino Lazaro (Borussia M'gladbach), Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig), Louis Schaub (Luzern), Xaver Schlager (Wolfsburg), Alessandro Schopf (Schalke 04)

Forwards: Marko Arnautovic (Shanghai Port), Adrian Grbic (Lorient), Michael Gregoritsch (Augsburg), Sasa Kalajdzic (Stuttgart), Karim Onisiwo (Mainz 05).

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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