Gareth Southgate ‘in no rush’ over England squad decision after ‘heartbreaking’ Trent Alexander-Arnold injury

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·3-min read
Gareth Southgate ‘in no rush’ over England squad decision after ‘heartbreaking’ Trent Alexander-Arnold injury
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 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

England manager Gareth Southgate insists he is no rush to name a Euro 2020 replacement for Trent Alexander-Arnold and will assess the situation fully after Sunday’s match against Romania.

After he was dropped for the start of World Cup qualifying in March, Alexander-Arnold’s selection for the tournament was among the biggest headlines from both Southgate’s initial expanded and then final squad announcements for this summer’s rescheduled European Championship.

The Liverpool star joined Reece James, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier as one of four right-backs named in Southgate’s 26-man party for the Euros, though saw his tournament dream cruelly dashed after limping off with a thigh injury late on during Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly win over Austria in Middlesbrough.

Subsequent scans revealed that Alexander-Arnold would not be able to play any part for England this summer, with an estimated lay-off of around six weeks.

Attentions quickly turned to his potential replacement, with the Three Lions making it clear that nothing would be announced until after the final Euros warm-up against Romania at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday evening.

The likes of Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse or even Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard could earn a reprieve if Southgate feels he is still adequately stocked in defensive areas, though much could yet depend on the fitness of Jordan Henderson and particularly Harry Maguire as the likes of Ben White and Ben Godfrey also wait in reserve.

"We want to see how we get through tomorrow's game as well and be able to assess everything and then we'll make a decision from there," Southgate said in a press conference to preview the clash with Romania.

"So there isn't a rush. I think it's important to have time to consider everything and we're obviously talking about that as a coaching staff.

"We will know more after tomorrow's game on where everybody is physically, whether there are any more issues and it is important we get the positional balance right for the whole squad."

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Southgate described Alexander-Arnold missing the Euros as “heartbreaking” for the player, though he backed the 22-year-old to bounce back and believes he will be fit in time for pre-season at Liverpool.

"It's heartbreaking, really, for any player to get to the eve of a major tournament, be named in the squad and then miss out through injury," Southgate said.

"You know how rare these opportunities are and even though he's a young player who is going to have those opportunities again - I firmly believe that - that's a really difficult moment for him especially.

"It's a big disappointment for us of course as well but you can't help but, first and foremost, feel for Trent in this situation.

"The one thing I was pleased about is that immediately after the game, I didn't like the look of the injury but at least it sounds as though he should be fine for pre-season and for next season.

"But that is a very small positive in the situation he is in, so of course he was very upset, bitterly disappointed and in those moments everybody is thinking about him."

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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