‘He has to…’ – Robbie Fowler makes valid Trent point to Gareth Southgate ahead of England clash

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Robbie Fowler has urged Gareth Southgate to find a place for Trent Alexander-Arnold in England’s starting line-up for their Euro 2024 clash against Slovakia.

The Three Lions topped their group despite three drab performances, earning the right to face Francesco Calzona’s side today for the prize of a quarter-final clash against Switzerland next Saturday.

Writing in the print edition of the Sunday Mirror (30 June, page 77), the man affectionately known as ‘God’ insisted that the Reds’ vice-captain needs to start so that the Euro 2020 runners-up will have a greater threat from wide positions.

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Fowler stated: “Trent Alexander-Arnold in central midfield didn’t work, and now the Liverpool full-back appears to be paying an unfair price for the experiment that failed. The time for trying major experiments and taking major risks isn’t during a major tournament. That’s what the friendlies are for.

“England have been unable to access the flanks because Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka both instinctively come inside so they can get onto their strongest foot.

“If Southgate is going to persevere with that formation, then he has to get Alexander-Arnold in the team to provide natural width and an attacking threat. No, Trent isn’t as good as Kyle Walker defensively, but the quality of crosses and his passes alone are worth a place in his team.”

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Trent appeared to be the fall guy for England’s meek group stage performances, having been rounded on by various pundits after his displays in midfield in the first couple of games before Southgate dropped him in favour of Conor Gallagher.

That was despite the 25-year-old being his team’s most creative outlet in the 1-1 draw against Denmark, during which he was the first Three Lions player to be substituted just 10 minutes into the second half.

Given how flat England looked during the group phase, it seems baffling that a player of the Liverpool star’s qualities would be shunted aside. If that means finding a place for him and Walker on the same team, so be it.

Trent in midfield mightn’t have worked as desired, but he could be restored to right-back as the Manchester City defender switches to the other flank, where Luke Shaw’s ongoing absence and the injury doubts over Kieran Trippier have left Southgate scrambling for alternatives.

As we’ve seen at Anfield, Joe Gomez is a perfectly viable left-back contender, but reports over the weekend have suggested that the 27-year-old bizarrely isn’t in contention to start in that role for his country.

Even if Walker seems certain to be included, there’s still room for one Liverpool player to fill either of the other full-back positions. With Southgate at the helm, though, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if England’s starting line-up this evening had no LFC representation.

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