If you’d have told me six months ago that a fully fit Trent Alexander-Arnold would not be in England’s Euro 2020 squad, I would have scoffed loudly. But here we are. TAA has been dropped by Gareth Southgate, with the England manager making it clear that the Liverpool youngster, who had the world at his feet last season, is far from first choice at right-back.
“I don’t think that Trent has played at the level that he found in the last couple of years but he’s getting very close to that now,” Southgate said.
“In the last couple of weeks, he’s definitely taken steps in the right direction. It’s simply that we think Reece James and Kieran Trippier have had exceptional seasons with their clubs. Kyle Walker is in great form, too.”
Southgate is not wrong, and indeed I put Alexander-Arnold in my recent list of the 10 most disappointing players of the season.
If you factor in other English right-backs such as Matty Cash, Tariq Lamptey, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Max Aarons, it becomes clear that TAA won’t enjoy an armchair ride for the Three Lions; in fact, I don’t think England has ever had so much strength in depth in one position. Right-back is STACKED.
Baring injuries or spectacular dips in form, it’s probable that Alexander-Arnold won’t play in the Euros this summer. The latest England squad is the last chance Southgate has to take a good look at his players, and the absence of TAA surely suggests he won’t make the cut.
As I said above, you can’t say that Southgate is wrong. Trippier has been superb for Atletico and James is a wonderfully gifted player who is improving all the time – they both deserve squad spots. And would England take three dedicated right-backs? Probably not, which is why Kyle Walker stands a much better chance of getting in ahead of Alexander-Arnold, as he has also played at centre-back for Southgate.
We live in interesting times.