ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate has revealed he left Trent Alexander-Arnold out of the draw with Germany because Kieran Trippier’s ‘all-round game is ahead’ of him, and says their stirring comeback shows his players are learning to deal with the backlash over recent poor results.
The Three Lions finished Group A3 of the Nations League bottom, winless in six games and relegated, a fate confirmed before Kai Havertz’s late equaliser in the 3-3 draw at Wembley.
A superb 12-minute spell at least saw England sign off for the World Cup with some optimism after goals from Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and a Harry Kane penalty but one player’s absence still cast a shadow before the game.
Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold was called up by Southgate but left out of the 23-man matchday squad along with Fikayo Tomori, Jarrod Bowen, James Ward-Prowse and the suspended Jack Grealish, and now faces a real battle to make the final squad for World Cup in November.
Southgate has been accused of not giving Alexander-Arnold a chance but explained his decision not to involve him at Wembley after leaving him on the bench in Italy on Friday night.
‘I didn’t want any player to sit in the stand for two matches, so I think the way we manage a group of people has been a big strength for us in the tournaments and we need to do that,’ he said.
‘(Against Italy) we didn’t need the left-back cover, against Germany we did because of the way we went with the team, so we needed Chilly (Ben Chilwell) on the bench and we had Kieran (Trippier) who, at the moment, I feel his all-round game is ahead.’
After a miserable run of form, the England manager believes his younger players have learnt more about their character amid fierce criticism.
He said: ‘They have been through a lot and the psychology of it all is fascinating for us at the moment.
‘Some young ones are actually handling it brilliantly and some are needing help and guidance.
‘They will be thinking, “What is this?”. We have talked about how the shirt feels and they are experiencing for the first time a little bit what some of the older ones have been through in the past.’
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