Gareth Southgate drops big England hint over Trent Alexander-Arnold amid Liverpool dilemma

(Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images))

England boss Gareth Southgate has dropped a major hint that his England line-up to face Serbia will feature Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Liverpool vice-captain and teammate Joe Gomez are part of the final 26-man squad for Euro 2024.

Alexander-Arnold played the full 90 minutes against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday, starting in midfield before moving to full-back. He then appeared as a substitute in the defeat to Iceland, in his usual defensive position.

But it has now been confirmed that the 25-year-old will wear the No.8 shirt for the tournament in Germany, in a suggestion that he could well start England's opener next weekend in a midfield role.

READ MORE: Liverpool transfer news LIVE: Yankuba Minteh 'interest', Dario Osorio 'offer', exit talks

READ MORE: Who is Dario Osorio? Liverpool 'preparing transfer bid' for Chile international

It is of course not granted that England will line up in 1-11 shirt numbers. Luke Shaw, for example, has been handed the No.3 despite being almost certain to miss the Serbia match.

But the decision to hand Alexander-Arnold the shirt shows how prominent he is in Southgate's thinking, as the England boss weighs up how to set-up his midfield. Declan Rice is a certainty while there are calls for Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden to fill the other two positions.

Southgate however is expected to be more pragmatic and include another deep-lying option, with Alexander-Arnold likely battling with Conor Gallagher and Kobbie Mainoo for a starting spot. Those two players have been handed the No.16 and No.26 shirts respectively.

Southgate opened up on Alexander-Arnold's position this week, saying: "It is a role he is discovering and he is hungry to learn and has been since I talked to him about playing it a year or so ago.

"He has had a difficult international career in that because of the strength in depth in the area, we haven’t always been able to give him the amount of football that his talent deserves. But we have always been trying to find a way to do that and I think he knows that." says: Alexander-Arnold showed in his cameo against Iceland that Southgate simply must find a way to get him in the team. His best position is probably still at full-back but it seems unlikely he will get the nod ahead of Kyle Walker. So a midfield does now appear more likely and the shirt numbers may well indicate Southgate is ready to put his ability to the test in Germany.

Arne Slot will be keeping a close eye on how he fares in midfield with the new Liverpool boss potentially considering a permanent switch at club level next season.