Gareth Southgate defends call to start Alexander-Arnold in midfield

Gareth Southgate defends his decision to start Trent Alexander-Arnold in an unfamiliar midfield role – but admits Liverpool star was ‘happier’ after switching to right-back

  • Alexander-Arnold is accustomed to playing at full-back rather than in midfield 
  • England have a wealth of options at right-back like Reece James and Kyle Walker 
  • Southgate said it was a perfect opportunity to try something new versus Andorra

Gareth Southgate defended his decision to experiment with Trent Alexander-Arnold as a midfielder – but accepted the Liverpool star was ‘happier’ after a second half switch to right-back.

Alexander-Arnold started the 4-0 win against Andorra alongside Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham, but was moved to right-back after the interval having struggled to make an impact.

Southgate insisted there were positives to be taken from the initial choice and stressed it was the perfect opportunity – against opponents who were never going to cause England problems – to try something new.

Gareth Southgate defended his decision to start Trent Alexander-Arnold in a midfield role

The Liverpool star (pictured) moved back to his usual position of right-back in the second half

The England manager said: ‘We wanted to see something and we felt this was a good game to look at it. Clearly in the second half he has been in more of those positions where he felt more comfortable.

‘Even though a lot of the time it was the same positions he was in in the first half but just he’s coming onto things, he looked happier in that position. That was clear so I think his play with the ball exhibited that happiness. We know he has outstanding quality with the ball and of course he finds himself in those positions with Liverpool. 

‘But what was clear in the first half was there wasn’t a lot of space and to find yourself in those positions coming onto those positions is different to starting in those positions so I don’t feel we lost anything by having a look at it.’

Southgate said it was a perfect opportunity to try something new against limited opponents




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