Gareth Southgate has hit back at ‘strange’ media reports suggesting he was going to drop Trent Alexander Arnold from his England squad for the European Championship.
Ahead of the announcement of England’s final 26-man party for the tournament, there was major speculation over the possible exclusion of the Liverpool defender, with many reports saying he would be left out.
Instead, Alexander-Arnold did make the final cut and Southgate has claimed the Liverpool’s place in the team was decided weeks back.
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“I spoke with Trent about three weeks ago,” he said in his press conference following the announcement. “There were stories over the last couple of weeks with lots of strange headlines, I have no idea where they have come from.
“I felt that there were stories that ran that were so far off the truth.
“I read stories about myself that are not true but I accept that’s the job I’m in.
But when it is a player, they may feel like they are reading it so it may be true and the manager is speaking to the press behind their back. That’s obviously not the case.
Alexander-Arnold had been left out of the recent England squad for World Cup qualifiers in the spring due to a loss of form for his club.
The emergence of Reece James, Kieran Tripper’s form at Atletico Madrid and Kyle Walker’s experience suggested that England were stocked at right-back, meaning the 22-year-old may miss out.
However, when the team for the Euros was announced, Alexander-Arnold was ultimately included.
“Even last night we were dealing with that,” Southgate added. “In the morning he was taking set pieces preparing for tomorrow and then he is reading that he is not going to the European Championship. I really don't understand it.
“I want to protect my players. I had to speak to Trent last night to say 'don't know where this is coming from, it is nonsense'. Because people jump on it and say I have an agenda or don't like the kid.
“I always think about the players.”
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