Trent Alexander-Arnold in the frame for Euro 2020 after Gareth Southgate talks
Gareth Southgate has been giving regular pep talks to England misfit Trent Alexander-Arnold.
And the Three Lions boss insists the Liverpool right back is bang in the frame for his final 26-man Euro squad.
Alexander-Arnold was named yesterday in Southgate’s provisional 33-man group, which has to be trimmed by June 1.
But Southgate moved to shut down fears he might still axe the 22-year-old, who was left out of his previous squad.
The Reds defender is one of FOUR right backs on the long list, along with Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James.
But Southgate claims he could take ALL of them to the Euros – and even raised the prospect of using Alexander-Arnold as a midfielder!
The England boss said: “People seem to think I don’t think Trent is a good footballer. That just isn’t the case.
“He’s come in for some criticism and I’ve felt the need to communicate more with him than other players in the last couple of months.
“I don’t mind criticism of my decisions but he’s a young player we’ve got to look after and care for.
“I know when you leave a player out it feels as if that doesn’t match up. But we’ve communicated regularly since. Credit to Trent he’s kept that to himself.
“Perhaps people didn’t like my rationale for leaving him out but in my own way I was trying to protect the player. Maybe that didn’t work.
“When you make a decision like I’ve made there’s going to be ramifications to that. But I didn’t want the player to suffer in any way.”
Alexander-Arnold was sweating yesterday on whether he’d even make the long list for the tournament.
And many still believe Manchester City star Walker, Atletico Madrid’s Trippier and James of Chelsea are favourites to get in ahead of him.
But Southgate said: “It’s not that straightforward. I know people see these as four right backs. I think there’s a lot more to all of these players.
“We need versatility. We need competition for places. We are still unclear on some injuries.
“So, no, it isn’t as straightforward as those other boys get in. Trent is very much in contention. There’s never been any question in my head.
“You can play three at the back and you’ve got two that can play as the right-sided centre-back and two that could play as the wing-back.
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“We could play four at the back, one at right-back, one at left-back and one might have to be in the middle of midfield if we lost other players to injury.
“Could Trent play there? There is no doubt he could. He hasn’t had the opportunity to do that since he was a young player in Liverpool’s Academy.
“But he’s a fantastic passer and has great passing vision. He’s a playmaker from right-back. So why wouldn’t that lend itself to being in midfield?”
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