Trent Alexander-Arnold STILL the talk of England - even in his absence

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold continues to dominate the England chatter at Euro 2024 - even though he was relegated to just a six-minute cameo during the Three Lions' dismal 0-0 draw with Slovenia on Tuesday night.

Despite England's underwhelming performances in their opening two matches, Alexander-Arnold, who started in central midfield for both, was the only player dropped from the starting line-up for the game in Cologne, with Chelsea's Conor Gallagher preferred instead.

Gallagher's performance was far from convincing and he was substituted at half-time in what has been described as the competition's worst match so far.

Now, former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has weighed in on the debate.

'What the hell's going on?'

Speaking on ITV following the game, Neville expressed his astonishment at Alexander-Arnold's exclusion, highlighting the player's exceptional talent.

"I do want to mention Trent Alexander-Arnold. I know it’s a big boy’s game and you can be left out of a football match, but I do feel that this is the best right-back we’ve ever produced by a million miles in terms of in possession, and he’s now sat on the bench wondering ‘What the hell’s going on?’ He’ll probably be devastated," Neville said.

Gary Neville

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The statistics back up Neville's frustration. Alexander-Arnold was one of the few players offering a creative spark in England's otherwise lacklustre performances against Serbia and Denmark.

Against Denmark, the Liverpool vice-captain made three key passes and created one big chance, compared to none on both counts for Gallagher during his 45 minutes against Slovenia.

Southgate then compounded his error by turning to Manchester United's Kobbie Mainoo as Gallagher's half-time replacement, and only bringing on Alexander-Arnold as an 84th-minute replacement for Kieran Trippier.

Postecoglou calls for 'creative' Trent

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou, also speaking on ITV's post-match coverage, criticised Southgate's midfield setup, too.

"I think the midfield setup is not there for them to be able to play that kind of football," he said.

"All three players – Declan, Conor and Jude – kind of play the safe way in terms of their passing. You need somebody creative in there who’s prepared maybe to gamble in one sense, but also has the vision and the clarity of thought to say ‘before I receive this ball, it’s going forward’."

Postecoglou's comments echoed Neville's sentiments, underscoring the missed opportunity of not utilising Alexander-Arnold's vision and passing range.

Trent Alexander-Arnold England Euro 2024

What now for Alexander-Arnold?

Despite their goalless draw with Slovenia, England still progressed to the last 16 as winners of Group C, likely setting up a clash with the Netherlands.

However, it remains to be seen if Southgate will reconsider his approach or even restore Alexander-Arnold to his natural right-back position, where he has consistently excelled for Liverpool.

The pressure is mounting on Southgate to rethink his strategy and, for now, the Liverpool star can only hope for a more prominent role as England's Euro 2024 journey continues.

If the Three Lions fail to advance further, the chatter around Alexander-Arnold will likely dominate the post-tournament analysis, too.

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