England international expresses SERIOUS doubt about Alexander-Arnold midfield move

Trent Alexander-Arnold is widely expected to start alongside Declan Rice in midfield for England’s opening Euro 2024 match against Serbia on Sunday. 

Having been handed the No.8 shirt for the tournament - long held by former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson - Alexander-Arnold also lined up from the middle for the recent friendly win against Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rice has named Alexander-Arnold as his preferred partner in the Three Lions midfield, with former colleagues Henderson and Kalvin Phillips absent from the squad. 

The news of the 25-year-old’s impending positional shift was hinted at in a report in the Telegraph earlier this week, with a source saying the Liverpool right back had been handed the No.8 shirt for a reason

It’s clear that the player sees his future in midfield, telling FourFourTwo earlier this year that his qualities will shine brightest in the centre of the pitch

That is a view shared by Southgate, who will utilise Trent’s range of passing to probe opposition defences and create chances further up the field. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold

However, the switch is not favoured by everyone with one former England international expressing doubts that the Reds’ homegrown favourite had the characteristics to play in the position. 

Phil Jagielka, who won 40 caps for the Three Lions, appearing in the Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014 squad lists, believes Jude Bellingham should be instead tried further back. 

The 20-year-old Real Madrid star was let loose by club manager Carlo Ancelotti last season, often featuring in a free role between Vinicius Junior and Reds’ transfer target Rodrygo in the Blancos attack. 

Southgate is expected to field the Champions League winner just off Harry Kane at the sharp end of the England attack having named him as England’s No.10 for the tournament. 

Jagielka calls for Bellingham in midfield over Trent

The team’s needs, however, would be better met by playing Bellingham in midfield according to the former Everton man. 

“I'd like to have seen Gareth try [Jude] Bellingham as a regular 8 if you like in midfield just to see how everyone else would have adapted around him,” Jagielka told the BBC’s Monday Night Club

“Because we're playing Trent in there at the moment, potentially, for his range of passing but [he’s] not technically a midfielder. He's not technically set to play that position. 

"If he [Bellingham] does drop back and play as well as most of us anticipate he would, it does give him [Southgate] a lot more options going forward. It's all about in-form players in that top half of the pitch.”

'1-11 is the team he'd like to start'

Much has been made about the England squad numbers and whether Southgate has effectively named his starting XI in the players he’s selected for the 1-11 shirts. 

“Normally the 1-11 is, give or take, 90 percent of the team he'd like to start,” Jagielka said, acknowledging that No.3 Luke Shaw is unlikely to be fit for the opening fixture. 

 

Share This Article