Southgate’s Desire for ‘Versatility’ Boosts Alexander-Arnold’s Hopes for Euro 2020

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Southgate’s Desire for ‘Versatility’ Boosts Alexander-Arnold’s Hopes for Euro 2020


Gareth Southgate opened the door to the inclusion of Trent Alexander-Arnold as one of four right-backs in England’s final team for Euro 2020 and insisted he still has good relations with the Liverpool defender.

Alexander-Arnold, controversially dropped for the World Cup qualifiers in March, has a chance to advance to this summer’s final after being included in a provisional 33-man Southgate squad, which picked a large team due to injuries and his involvement. key players in this week’s Champions League and Europa League final, didn’t rule out picking the 22-year-old, suggesting his place in the squad doesn’t necessarily hinge on Kyle’s dropout Walker, Reece James and Kieran Trippier. .

The England manager, who has until next Tuesday to reduce his squad to 26, has instead raised the possibility of choosing the four right-backs because of their versatility. Noise around Alexander-Arnold was positive and Southgate, who dismissed fears Harry Kane would be distracted by uncertainty over his future at Tottenham, denied the Liverpool player would definitely miss if James and Walker qualify for Saturday’s Champions League final between Chelsea. and Manchester City unharmed.

“It’s not that simple,” Southgate said. “Everyone sees it as four right-backs, but there is a lot more for all of these players. We need versatility, we need competition for places and we still don’t know about some injuries. Trent strongly disagrees.

“People think I don’t think Trent is a good footballer. This is simply not the case. He has been indirectly criticized and I have felt the need to communicate with him more than anyone over the past couple of months, but I think his performance has been very good. I’m a little surprised at some of the things that have been written because people just don’t know about these communications that have taken place. But that’s all Trent’s credit for keeping that to himself.

Southgate, who suggested Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson was in good physical shape after recovering from a long-term groin injury, denied creating any problems by criticizing Alexander-Arnold’s form after the to have dropped in March.

Gareth Southgate is due to remove seven players from his England squad next week. Photograph: FA / PA

“What I could do is go into the details of the intense training,” Southgate said. “I’ve done this once before with my reasons for leaving Chris Smalling out because I praised John Stones and Harry Maguire for some attributes they had and indirectly it ended with a bombardment of Chris. I will never do that to a player. Maybe people didn’t like my reasoning, but I was trying to protect the player.

Southgate, who first called up Ben White from Brighton and Ben Godfrey from Everton, is worried about key players ahead of his side’s opener against Croatia at Wembley on 13 June. Maguire is in doubt for Manchester United’s Europa League final against Villarreal due to damaged ankle ligaments, forcing Southgate to check other center-back options. White and Godfrey walked in, leaving Eric Dier, Fikayo Tomori, Ezri Konsa, and James Tarkowski disappointed.

The England manager has hinted at the frustration over United’s lack of communication regarding Maguire.

“At that point, Harry could play tomorrow night or he could be out for two months.” I just don’t know. I understand that from Man United’s point of view, ”Southgate said.

England, who will play warm-up matches against Austria on June 2 and Romania on June 6 at Riverside Stadium, are also sweating on Kalvin Phillips after the Leeds midfielder suffered a shoulder injury against West Brom last Sunday. Southgate, who lost Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope to a knee problem, hinted at White, James and Alexander-Arnold as midfield options.

The preparations were not ideal. England will be deprived of their united contingent against Austria and players from City and Chelsea are unlikely to face Romania. Yet Southgate’s task now is to cut seven players. Aaron Ramsdale of Sheffield United fights with Sam Johnstone of West Brom for the third place goalkeeper. White and Godfrey are likely to be missed.

With Jesse Lingard listed as a midfielder and potentially dependent on Henderson or Phillips to fail to prove their fitness, Mason Greenwood, Ollie Watkins and Bukayo Saka are likely to fight for a place in attack.

Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho are expected to make the final cut.

A player named to the final team may be replaced, subject to UEFA approval, before a team’s first match due to injury or illness. However, Southgate, who left out Danny Ings, Tammy Abraham and James Maddison, raised doubts about Grealish after saying the Villa playmaker’s workload will need to be managed with care following his return from injury.

Newcastle assistant Graeme Jones will replace striker’s coach Allan Russell behind the scenes at Southgate staff.

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