Alexander-Arnold, Alli, Saka, Lingard: Paul Parker's verdict on Gareth Southgate's big decisions
England manager Gareth Southgate is set to name his 26-man squad for the European Championship next week. Even though the squad sizes have been expanded this year there are still several fringe players who could miss out. Paul Parker has given his verdict on some of the big decisions facing Southgate.
England's defender Trent Alexander-Arnold reacts during the UEFA Nations League group A2 football match between England and Belgium at Wembley stadium in north London on October 11, 2020
I don’t think his performances have been good enough this season and Chelsea's Reece James is a better full-back. He can attack and he can also defend a lot better than Alexander-Arnold in one-v-one situations.
He senses danger better and if Alexander-Arnold was going to come to the forefront he would have taken control of a depleted back four, but all he has done really is become one of the problems in the defence, when he should have been stepping forward to help out the young centre-halves.
Does Dele Alli get in?
What would Southgate have learned from watching Dele Alli against Wolves? He won’t pick him even if there are some calls for a shock late inclusion.
Dele Alli hasn’t played for ages. If a new manager came in then he probably wouldn’t pick Dele Alli in his team at Tottenham.
Where would he play for England? He doesn’t have electric pace, he doesn’t get in the box as much anymore, and he is trying to be a No 10 which means less running. He wouldn’t get in my squad.
Players have been doing it consistently all season and he has only just got back into the Tottenham team. If he was a young kid looking to get experience you might bring him along but Alli doesn’t need that at this stage of his career.
Will Lingard or Saka be included?
Jesse Lingard has done well for West Ham since leaving Manchester United on loan so you might throw him into the squad but he wouldn’t be near the starting line-up..
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He had a spell when he was doing OK for England and he has played well, but who would you leave out to include him? I think you’d have to go with someone who has been doing it consistently over the last 12 months.
Would I go with Bukayo Saka over Lingard? Probably, because he can give you more positions. He can do a good job in midfield and defence as well.
Defensive issues ahead?
In terms of the defence it obviously depends on whether you go with a back three. If it is then Tyrone Mings would have to play on the left but then Harry Maguire wants to play there.
Conor Coady you would have to play in the middle because he would get found out in the wide areas.
If Southgate goes with three at the back then he is probably going to have to play Maguire in the middle and Mings would need to play on the left to give the balance.
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But then would you want John Stones in the middle because he is the best at playing out from the back? And he is the best, without a doubt. That only works if you have the players to play with the ball and Maguire and Mings are not as good at that as Stones is, so three at the back could be more defensive depending on the personnel.
That is what Southgate likes and it’s because he believes it’s the best way for the team and makes them sturdier. There’s also questions on the left as neither Luke Shaw or Ben Chilwell are really built as wing-backs in my opinion.
Foden starts, Rashford not in XI
Finally you have to go with Phil Foden to start. Of course Jadon Sancho is doing it in Germany but for me Foden has been the best British player this season.
I wouldn’t have Marcus Rashford in my team, he has been poor, but he would make my squad. Even if it was Rashford against Raheem Sterling I would go with Sterling, who hasn’t been starting much for Manchester City lately.
If you look at Rashford’s stats they are alright, but if you watch him for 90 minutes then it hasn’t been good. He shouldn’t be starting in front of Mason Greenwood at Manchester United.