Much has been made of Gareth Southgate’s decision to not hand Trent Alexander-Arnold any minutes in the last international break and to remove him from the squad altogether for the recent game with Germany but he’s now added insult to injury.
Speaking with the media (via BBC Sport), the England manager said: “I’ve had long conversations with all of them [who have been left out].
“The other night [against Italy], we didn’t need the left-back cover.
“Against Germany we did because of the way we went with the team so we needed Chilly [Ben Chilwell] on the bench and we had Kieran [Trippier] who, at the moment, I feel his all-round game is ahead [of Alexander-Arnold].”
If there have been ‘long conversations’ held between our No.66 and the 52-year-old, then these words won’t come as a personal shock to the player but they certainly will to plenty of people listening to them.
There’s no doubt that Kieran Trippier is also a talented footballer but to so publicly state that he is ahead of the 23-year-old seems unfair and slightly too bold from the coach.
The 32-year-old is playing at a much different level to our right-back and is not tested in games that are of as much importance, nor against the best players in Europe, on as regular a basis.
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At this point, when taking a player and not using him and so outwardly discrediting his ability, it feels like the former Middlesbrough manager is looking for a reaction.
Whether that is in the shape of improved performances on the pitch, or in terms of public backlash from the player so that he no longer has to pick him, is unclear.
The national manager is clearly not convinced by the Scouser in our team but knows that his performances at club level mean he deserves a call-up.
It feels like a manager who is out of his depth and is desperate for a player to have a public outburst in order to no longer have to select him.