“Gareth Southgate Unveils the Key Player England is Missing Post Trent Alexander-Arnold Experiment”

“Gareth Southgate Unveils the Key Player England is Missing Post Trent Alexander-Arnold Experiment”

Gareth Southgate was quizzed on his England midfielder after Denmark draw

Trent Alexander-Arnold started but was substituted for the second game running

Pressure is building on England boss to adapt tactics for the rest of Euro 2024

Gareth Southgate has risked the wrath of already frustrated England fans by admitting that playing Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield at Euro 2024 is an ‘experiment’, while also claiming he does not have a ‘natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips’.

Alexander-Arnold has long been lauded for his ability on the ball and range of passing, utilised in a midfield role by Southgate, who never seemed to fancy the Liverpool defender in his natural right-back position, as far back as 2021.

But there was a degree of surprise when he was listed among the midfielders when this summer’s squad was revealed last month, not least because Jurgen Klopp had always seemed hesitant about fully embracing the idea that he could play there for Liverpool.

In each of England’s first two games at Euro 2024, which have delivered disappointing team performances, Alexander-Arnold has been sacrificed in the second half, almost like Southgate has conceded defeat that the plan hasn’t worked. That’s despite sticking to it from one game to the next.

“He’s had some moments where he’s delivered what we thought he would,” Southgate said of Alexander-Arnold to BBC One after their 1-1 draw against Denmark.

“We know it’s an experiment. We know we don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Philips. We’re trying different things and at the moment we’re not flowing as we’d like.”

England fans might point out that the squad has an array of midfielders to choose from and that someone who was playing for a mid-table Premier League side at Euro 2020 shouldn’t be that hard to replace when Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo and Adam Wharton are at his disposal.

“I wanted Conor on,” was Southgate’s reply when asked why Alexander-Arnold was withdrawn again. “We needed energy, we needed to press better. Conor does that very well.”

Given that England seem to lack sufficient control in midfield when Alexander-Arnold starts there, Southgate maybe ought to rethink his ‘experiment’ before it’s too late.

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