Trent Alexander-Arnold in As Gareth Southgate reveals his 26 players
Trent Alexander-Arnold leads a group of players who are eagerly awaiting whether they have been excluded from Gareth Southgate’s 26-man final squad for this month’s European Championships.
The Liverpool defender, one of four specialist right-backs appointed by the England coach in his home party, appears to be the most prominent player under threat as he makes his final selection.
Southgate has chosen not to notify the seven players who are due to be excluded from their preliminary squad of 33, named last week, ahead of today’s announcement.
Instead, they will learn their fate today as Southgate prepares for friendlies in Middlesbrough this week, against Austria tomorrow and Romania on Sunday, and the group opener against Croatia a week on Sunday. .
Southgate has left his decision making until the last possible moment – this afternoon’s UEFA deadline – an indication of how hard he found the selection.
And the process has been complicated by injuries to Manchester United defender Harry Maguire and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, who kept the pair sidelined in the final games of the domestic season.
But Alexander-Arnold appears to be the biggest ‘victim’ in Southgate’s slaughter, a consequence of the strength England can boast of in their right-back position.
Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Chelsea’s Reece James each played a key role in helping their teams advance to the Champions League final, while Kieran Trippier was equally impressive during Atletico Madrid’s shocking success. in the Spanish league.
Alexander-Arnold has been left out of England’s last seven internationals, having started for Southgate in the Nations League victory over Belgium in October, and looks set to face further disappointment.
Among players remaining under pressure, new calls to Southgate’s initial team of 33 – Aaron Ramsdale, Ben Godfrey and Ben White – seem the most likely to be left out, while Ollie Watkins, who won his first cap and scored with his first international shot on target against San Marino in March, also seems to be on the brink.
James Ward-Prowse and Bukayo Saka have clearly caught the England manager’s attention, but the form of the others may cost them their place – especially with the all-rounder Saka making the initial Southgate squad roster.
Ultimately, Southgate’s decision-making may well hinge on the fitness reports around Maguire and Henderson, with the England manager admitting Manchester United had not provided him with detailed information on the state of fitness of the l ‘former before the final of the Europa League last Wednesday.
The ability to rate the duo until the last possible moment is another reason Southgate is delaying their squad announcement.