Gareth Southgate has been picking the brains of England’s Cricket World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan as he plots how to turn the country’s footballers into European Champions.
But Trent Alexander-Arnold has admitted England will not have a chance of winning next summer’s Euros if the team do not defend better than they did in their last outing against Kosovo.
Morgan has this week visited England’s St George’s Park training base and chatted to manager Southgate and the players about this summer’s one-day World Cup success.
Having arrived on Tuesday, when he spoke personally with Southgate, Morgan stayed over and sat in on an England team meeting on Wednesday in which he said a few words. He also watched training.
England can clinch their qualification for the Euros by beating Czech Republic on Friday, leaving Southgate to prepare for the finals.
Southgate is keen to tap into other sports and has previously swapped ideas with England rugby union coach Eddie Jones, as well as studying the NFL, NBA and the New Zealand All Blacks. He also spent some time this summer with England's cricketers and shared thoughts about creating a team culture, with Morgan saying that Southgate had been "brilliant" with the cricket team.
— England (@England) October 9, 2019
Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold, however, believes the team need to focus on themselves during this international break, with defence currently England’s biggest issue.
Alexander-Arnold was part of the back four that conceded three goals to Kosovo. Harry Maguire and Michael Keane partnered each other in central defence, and, despite their problems for their clubs, the pair are expected to get another chance against Czech Republic on Friday night in Prague.
“If we want to be regarded as one of the best teams in Europe and go far in the Euros and try and win the competition, our clean sheets and goals conceded must be fewer,” said Alexander-Arnold.
“We have to concede less. As defenders, as a team and as a unit, we know where to improve and where to work on.”
Southgate will run through the lessons of the Kosovo game and where the defenders must improve before Friday night.
Alexander-Arnold added: “As players, we analyse our games and know what is going right and what is not. It is important to look back at our games and see where we need to improve and the obvious ones were the amount of goals we conceded, which was not good and we will make sure we get it right.
“Some games, it just happens. We will analyse what went wrong and try and make sure it does not happen again. Kosovo, really, were an under-rated side and we had massive respect for them before the game and we knew they had threats. Luckily for us were able to outscore them, but we were not happy with the goals we conceded and we need to work on it.”