Southgate sweats over Alexander-Arnold injury
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Just days after naming his England squad for Euro 2020, Gareth Southgate now has his first dilemma on his hands after watching Trent Alexander-Arnold limp off with an injury during Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly success over Austria.
The Liverpool right-back was moments away from completing the full 90 minutes for England before pulling up with a left thigh injury.
He signalled to the bench that he had an issue seconds after making a straightforward clearance during the game at the Riverside Stadium.
Southgate has now confirmed he should know the extent of the damage by the weekend.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s not a good situation that he’s had to walk off in some discomfort. We’ll know more details in the next 24 to 48 hours. It looks like a thigh injury – in terms of the full extent, we don’t know yet.
“It’s devastating; he’s worked hard to earn a spot here. I just hope it’s not too serious.”
Southgate refused to comment on who would replace the 22-year-old in his 26-man squad just days after the Liverpool ace made the cut.
England currently have four right-backs in their ranks, with Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James also in the fold.
Southgate is already waiting for Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson to overcome injuries, and a third problem could be a step too far for the former centre-back.
Earlier this week, Southgate decided to cut Mason Greenwood, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Ben Godfrey, James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins from his 33-man training squad.
Greenwood is now back at Manchester United due to injury, but Lingard, White, Godfrey, Ward-Prowse and Watkins all played their part in Wednesday’s success.
Southgate was heavily criticised for his decision to name four right-backs in his squad, but he may still lean to his defence if he calls a replacement for Alexander-Arnold.
Maguire’s ankle injury leaves England light at the back, with Godfrey and White both pushing for a place in the Euro 2020 squad. While Godfrey can only play across the defence, White was deployed in midfield as the Brighton ace made his debut on Wednesday.
Despite being a late inclusion in the England training squad, White has a great chance of being named as Alexander-Arnold’s replacement, should the injury prove to be a serious one.
Lingard looks set to miss out due to competition for places on the wing, but both Ward-Prowse and Watkins will be chomping at the bit to impress in the coming days.
Southampton skipper Ward-Prowse is known for his ability from set-pieces, and he could be needed if Henderson fails to show signs he has recovered from his injury.
Southgate has only named two out-and-out strikers in his squad, with Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin set to battle up front for the Three Lions.
If either of those break down with injury, England look light down the middle and taking Watkins would certainly help lighten the burden on the Tottenham and Everton hitmen.