Gareth Southgate makes decision on Trent Alexander-Arnold's England starting place

Trent Alexander-Arnold was substituted by Gareth Southgate during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match with Denmark
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Gareth Southgate is expected to drop Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold for England's final Euro 2024 group game - with Chelsea's Conor Gallagher set to take his place in midfield.

The decision to deploy the Anfield full-back in an unfamiliar role in the middle of the park during the tournament has proven a divisive call among observers and supporters. However, it now appears that the Three Lions coaching staff are already ready to call time on the experiment involving the 25-year-old just three games into the competition.

England currently top Group C after a win in their opener versus Serbia, followed by a draw in their second outing versus Denmark. With Slovenia next up, it has been reported by the Athletic that head coach Southgate will likely take Alexander-Arnold out of the starting XI as his team looks to book a knockout stage place.

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England will line-up in Cologne knowing that victory will guarantee top spot in the group but it appears that the Liverpool man will be sacrificed after attracting criticism in some quarters for his showings in Germany so far. Withdrawn after 69 minutes against Serbia, the Merseyside-native also was hooked after 54 minutes against Denmark.

The decision to drop the Reds academy graduate will likely only fuel the debate surrounding Alexander-Arnold's merits in an unorthodox midfield role. While England struggled during periods to maintain control in their last outing, it should be noted that the Liverpool mainstay created three chances and supplied five passes in the final third - more than any of his teammates in the 1-1 stalemate.

Speaking following the game versus Denmark, Southgate admitted that aspects of experiment had not gone according to plan during the match. Explaining the call to send on Gallagher for Alexander-Arnold early in the second period, he asserted: "I wanted to get Conor on; we needed some energy and to press better.

Trent Alexander-Arnold of England shakes hands with Gareth Southgate after being substituted at Euro 2024
Trent Alexander-Arnold of England shakes hands with Gareth Southgate after being substituted at Euro 2024 -Credit:Getty

"He's (Alexander-Arnold) had some moments where he's delivered what we thought he would," he confessed. "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."

Meanwhile, international teammates including Declan Rice have rallied around Alexander-Arnold amid the criticism he has faced. The Arsenal midfielder told ITV: “It’s funny because people were calling for Trent to play in midfield.

"Half the country are calling for Trent to play in midfield, and then you play him in midfield, and then you want to bring him down. I don’t get it, I don’t get it at all. I’ll defend all of my boys until the day I never pull on an England shirt. Trent is one of the best players I’ve ever seen.

"Don’t call for someone to play in a position and then backtrack all because you think he’s had a bad game or something. I’ll tell you now: Trent can play in midfield. I’ve seen it at England, I’ve seen it for Liverpool, he’s unbelievable. That’s what I say to the people who say that type of stuff.”