Anyone who follows the English Premier League will know that Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of the best right-backs in the world. Still, he has courted controversy this year after almost missing out on making the England squad for the Euro 2020 tournament. In a cruel twist of fate, an injury sustained in a match against Austria means he’s side-lined until the summer.
Straight away, England and EPL supporters were pondering the effect the injury will have on the squad. Although it’s impossible to tell for sure, there’s no doubt the young Liverpudlian will be missed due to his quality on the ball. The question is, will it hamper the Three Lions to the point they won’t perform?
Not a Guaranteed Starter
The fact Arnold was rumoured to only just make the cut for the 26-man squad says a lot about his role within the team. The defender is integral to Liverpool due to the freedom he has to get on the ball and play incisive passes and crosses. Gareth Southgate feels different since he has picked four players in that position, which is why England’s Euro 2020 odds of 9/2 remain similar after the news broke.
Not only are they one of the favourites, but they are the number favourite in the eyes of the bookies, even with world champions France destined to be strong. This showcases the lack of influence Arnold has in an England shirt since his club’s odds for silverware would almost certainly decrease if he suffered an injury.
There’s no doubt he’s talented, yet he can’t affect the play if he is sat on the bench. With Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, and Reece James potentially ahead of him, the structure of the side won’t change much now that Alexander-Arnold won’t travel.
Three Lions’ fans are thankful the injury occurred before the competition began as it means they can pick a replacement and have a full quota of fit players at the Euro 2020 finals. If it happened during or after the incident, it would have been a different story and Southgate would have had a massive headache.
The even better news is that the squad is packed with defensive talent, implying that the England manager might not make a like-for-like replacement. With Jesse Lingard returning to scintillating form this season, he could be a very useful option off the bench if Phil Foden and Mason Mount aren’t firing.
Who should replace Trent Alexander-Arnold in the England squad? pic.twitter.com/EjoczGZBFn
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) June 3, 2021
At 7/2 and 13/2, respectively, to be named the Best Young Player of the Tournament, it’s likely they’ll set the competition alight. Regardless, a player with Lingard’s goal-scoring ability from midfield is never a bad option if England are losing or drawing with 20 minutes to play.
Harry Kane is 9/2 to finish Euro 2020 as the top goal scorer, and England are 150/1 outsiders to be the lowest-scoring team, so they have a very powerful goal threat. However, the warm-up match against Austria proved that the first 11 could not cut through a well-drilled team.
As a result, Kane dropped deeper to get on the ball, snuffing out his opportunities. Without Arnold, this could become a regular feature of England’s play since the attackers won’t gamble on a pinpoint cross being whipped into the box. In fairness, Foden, Mount, and many other regulars were missing. Plus, it was only a friendly.
Still, if the stale nature of the match was anything to go by, England will require a quality playmaker to open up defences, and Trent Alexander-Arnold has consistently proven he is this type of player.
His injury will impact England because Arnold is world-class. But it won’t have the effect it would have on Liverpool because Southgate’s setup isn’t suited to the right-back’s style of play. The bookmakers seem to agree as England are still the favourites for the outright win.