Trent Alexander-Arnold injury blow ‘heartbreaking’ – Gareth Southgate

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England manager Gareth Southgate said the news of Trent Alexander-Arnold being ruled out of the European Championship was “heartbreaking” but that the defender will be fit in time for next season.

The 22-year-old will miss the finals after suffering a thigh injury late on in Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly win over Austria.

Alexander-Arnold, whose place in Southgate’s 26-man squad had been a topic of hot conversation in recent days, took to Twitter to express his own disappointment at the situation, simply writing: “Absolutely gutted.”

The Liverpool defender had been omitted for a World Cup qualification triple-header in March.

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He returned to the provisional 33-man squad last week and made the cut for the Euros as one of four right-backs alongside Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James.

Now he will watch from home as Southgate backed him to return from the setback and revealed the injury should not prevent Alexander-Arnold from starting the new campaign with 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.”

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse is among those players on standby for Southgate's squad.
Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse is among those players on standby for Southgate’s squad. (Carl Recine/PA)

England face Romania on Sunday in their final warm-up game ahead of the finals, with Alexander-Arnold’s replacement yet to be selected.

Southgate must decide who to draft in with standby players Ben Godfrey, Ben White, James Ward-Prowse, Jesse Lingard and Ollie Watkins in contention.

He has already decided not to make that call until after the Romania game as he looks to make an informed choice.

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“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,” he said of delaying the decision.

“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.”

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