England squad: Gareth Southgate omits Trent Alexander-Arnold - The Verdict

  • Tom Kelly
Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold

Gareth Southgate hasn't included Trent Alexander-Arnold in the England squad and has indicated that his recent form has cost him a place in the team. 

On Thursday afternoon, the 26-man England squad was announced for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland. 

However, the Liverpool full-back was a surprise omission, as the likes of Kieran Trippier, Reece James and Kyle Walker were selected ahead of Alexander-Arnold. 

Discussing his decision, Southgate revealed why the 22-year-old failed to make the squad. 

"I don't think he's played at the level he found in the last couple of years but I think he's getting very close to that now," Southgate said in his press conference

During Liverpool's title-winning campaign, the full-back played a pivotal role and provided a total of 17 goal contributions.

But the full-back has struggled to replicate a similar level of form this year, as he's been involved in just four Premier League goals this campaign.

Given his proven ability, however, was Southgate right to drop Alexander-Arnold from his latest England cohort? 

GIVEMESPORT writers Tom Kelly, Josh Cole, Jonathan Gorrie and Sam Brookes have their say. 

Tom Kelly

"It's a positive sign that Southgate hasn't given in to the pressure of including Alexander-Arnold in the England squad purely on his reputation. This bold move highlights the fact that to be considered for international duty, you need to be playing at a consistently high level for your club. 

"That's exactly what Trippier and James have done and they've reaped the rewards. This attitude from Southgate will ultimately improve the national team, as players will strive to perform for their clubs to earn their England spot. 

"Without doubt, Alexander-Arnold could stroll into the national squad when he's at the peak of his powers. However, we're yet to see the Liverpool man reach the heights he's capable of this season."

Josh Cole 

"Whilst Alexander-Arnold did play a major role in Liverpool's title-winning success last season, he has struggled for consistency during the current campaign.

"Currently averaging a relatively underwhelming WhoScored match rating of 6.82, the defender has not performed as well as Trippier (7.26) and James (6.99) and thus it is hardly a surprise that he has been left out of England's squad for their upcoming matches.

"Although it would be naïve to suggest that Alexander-Arnold will not earn another call up by the Three Lions in the future, he will need to work on the defensive side of his game as he has only averaged 1.2 interceptions per game this season and has been part of a Liverpool side who have conceded 36 goals in the Premier League."

Jonathan Gorrie 

"What has Alexander-Arnold lost out on by not being included in the England squad? Aside from a few more caps in games against San Marino and Poland, virtually nothing.

"Southgate has proven he's willing to reward good form to those who have played well for him before by calling back the likes of Jesse Lingard, John Stones and Luke Shaw, so it's not as if the Liverpool ace has to worry about the door being shut. Seriously, what is the problem in missing what look like bleak games anyway?

"Now, he gets some kind of rest during the most congested campaign in living memory safe in the knowledge that Southgate is a man who remains loyal to his players, even during bad runs of form.

"Having impressed in his club's wins over Wolves and RB Leipzig - as James Pearce of The Athletic pointed out - he can focus on resting up and continuing that good form ahead of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament in a few months time.

"This could actually be a blessing in disguise."

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Sam Brookes

"Alexander-Arnold has not been at his best this season, that much is obvious. Yet Southgate admitted himself that he has seen the defender make improvements in recent weeks, which makes it hard to understand why he has excluded the full-back from his latest squad.

"The youngster must have been struggling with his confidence this season, and that will only have taken another knock with this latest announcement.

"Furthermore, he missed out to Trippier who has only just returned from almost two months on the sidelines. Has he really earned his place ahead of Alexander-Arnold?

"Southgate has claimed that Alexander-Arnold has not replicated his Liverpool form for England in the past, and he needs to figure out why. He could have got a lot closer to finding out the answer if he’d taken the option to work with the right-back closely over the next couple of weeks."

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