Gareth Southgate has revealed he is in no rush to name a replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, as he looks to maintain ‘positional balance’ in his 26-man squad.
The England boss was dealt a huge blow on Wednesday evening, after Alexander-Arnold was forced off late on in the narrow win over Austria, the Liverpool full-back picking up a thigh injury that has since forced him to withdraw from the Three Lions squad.
After months of speculation that he would not be involved in Southgate’s final roster, the 22-year-old was handed a spot as one four right-back’s in the squad, although his absence has now left question marks over who will come in to replace him.
The likes of Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse, Ollie Watkins, Ben White and Ben Godfrey are all on standby as possible inclusions, although it remains to be seen whether Southgate opts for a direct replacement for the injured Reds defender.
England are set to face Romania in their final Euro 2020 warm-up game on Sunday evening, the 50-year-old insisiting that a decision won’t be made on a replacement until after the match.
“We want to see how we get through tomorrow’s game as well. We’ll be able to assess everything and make a decision from then. There’s not a rush,” he said at a pre-match press conference ahead of his sides friendly clash with Romania.
“It’s important to have time to consider everything and we’re talking about it as a coaching staff. We’ll know more after tomorrow’s game on where everybody is physically, whether there’s any more issues.
“It’s important we get the positional balance right for the whole squad.”
The former Middlesbrough boss went on to share his disappoint for Alexander-Arnold that he won’t be involved this summer, although admitted that one ray of hope was that the injury shouldn’t keep him out of action for too long.
“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,” he said.
“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, in that immediately after the game I didn’t like the look of the injury, at least it sounds as though he should be fine for pre-season and next season.
“But that is a very small positive in the situation he is. He was very upset, bitterly disappointed, and in those moments everybody is thinking about him.”