Gareth Southgate opts for Kieran Trippier at left-back for Croatia opener

·1-min read

Kieran Trippier surprisingly started at left-back as England kicked off their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate turned to Atletico Madrid’s title-winning right-back to play on the left of the back four, with Luke Shaw on the bench and Ben Chilwell conspicuously absent from the matchday squad.

Jadon Sancho and Harry Maguire also were not in the 23, with John Stones and Tyrone Mings at the heart of defence with Kyle Walker on the right.

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Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice started at the base of a midfield that saw Mason Mount play in a more advanced role, with Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden playing either side of captain Harry Kane.

Jordan Pickford started between the posts against a Croatia side captained by Luka Modric.

England boss Southgate explained his decision to play Trippier out of position.

He told the BBC: “With Kieran, we feel a very experienced player, a good one v one defender to stop crosses coming in.

England warm up
England warm up for their game against Croatia (Nick Potts/PA)

“His communication and leadership will be a help. We have got changes in the backline and I think his experience will help us.”

On the absence of Maguire, Sancho and Chilwell, Southgate added: “With the two boys out of the squad, and Harry Maguire, it is just unfortunate we can only name 23.

“We have had to cover certain positions. I don’t like the fact we are having to leave players out of a squad in a major tournament – it is not fair on them.”

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