Trent Alexander-Arnold ‘is not a big loss’ to England if he misses Euros through injury, says Three Lions and Liverpool legend John Barnes…
John Barnes argues Trent Alexander-Arnold wouldn’t be a big loss to England at the European Championship, as Gareth Southgate is blessed with right-back options, before arguing he should call on James Ward-Prowse in his place.
The Liverpool right-back, who was a late inclusion in Southgate’s 26-man squad for the European Championship, was forced out late in the 1-0 friendly win over Austria due to a thigh injury – as the Three Lions boss was now sweating over his fitness before the opener against Croatia on June 13 at Wembley.
But Southgate has three other options at right-back – including Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James – and Barnes believes he won’t be missed before claiming there are far worse positions for an England player who has suffered an injury.
Trent Alexander-Arnold had to leave late for England with a thigh injury against Austria
Gareth Southgate has one more injury doubt to contend with now ahead of the Euros
Barnes told BonusCodeBets.co.uk“I’ve never known such enthusiasm about one position on a football field before Trent got injured – and you could say it’s probably lucky we already had three others on the squad.
“He’s one of our best right-backs, but we have so many options in that position, so it’s not really a big loss for England. It’s obviously extremely sad for Trent and I feel for him, but we have so much coverage there so it shouldn’t be detrimental to England’s chances.
“If Harry Kane stumbled against Austria, I would be much more concerned about England here. It’s also lucky for Liverpool that this ugly injury happened in the off-season.”
Barnes went on to claim that if Alexander-Arnold misses, it will give Southgate the perfect opportunity to add balance to his squad by bringing in Southampton midfielder Ward-Prowse.
John Barnes insists Alexander-Arnold will be ‘not a big loss’ for the Three Lions at the European Championship
“There is absolutely no way Southgate should choose another right-back to replace Trent,” added the former Liverpool and Watford winger. “It won’t be like for like. We have plenty of coverage there and now it’s actually a great opportunity to bring in someone in another position where we look quite light, say in central midfield.
“Whoever comes in doesn’t start and may get limited playing time – otherwise they would have been in the first team. That player will not England win the European Championship on their own, so it’s important who they pick, who isn’t there to just make up the numbers and can actually contribute something meaningful if called upon, maybe just for a few minutes.
“It’s all about balance – Jesse Lingard has had a better season than James Ward-Prowse, but for me we don’t need attacking players anymore, we already have a lot of them in the squad.
“With central midfield, Henderson and Kalvin Phillips have had recent injuries, Declan Rice has just come back from it, so if one of them goes down again we look very short in that area.
“So Ward-Prowse, who like Trent is reliable and good at set pieces, would make sense to pick. He also played every minute for Southampton, so he is clearly fit and trusted by his club and would be a perfect fit for the squad.
Barnes thinks Southgate should include midfielder James Ward-Prowse in his selection
“The biggest mistake England have made over the years is picking individuals who have played well in the same position, which really doesn’t help the team.
“I felt the squad’s first roster this time had shades with the right-backs and the attacking wide players – so this injury squad, while unfortunate, could help England’s lack of balance in central midfield and potentially be a historic problem with our team.” national team have been shutting down for decades.’
Like Alexander-Arnold, Southgate faces an anxious wait regarding the fitness of Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire ahead of the 10-day Euro opener.
Henderson has been out of action since February after sustaining a groin injury for Liverpool against Everton, while Man United centre-back Maguire suffered an ankle problem at Aston Villa towards the end of the season.