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Euro 2024: Conor Gallagher set to start for England – reports

Chelsea midfielder set to get the nod as Trent Alexander-Arnold 'experiment' is halted

England football manager Gareth Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate is set to start Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher in Tuesday’s final group game against Slovenia, according to widespread reports on Monday.

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was in the starting XI for 1-0 win over Serbia and last Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Denmark but was replaced by the Blues skipper 21 minutes from time in the group opener and then just nine minutes into the second half in game two in Frankfurt.

Three Lions fans frustrated with perceived negativity in England’s tactics had largely been calling for the introduction of Man United’s Kobbie Mainoo, who got four minutes off the bench against Serbia, or Adam Wharton, who is yet to play a minute in the tournament, instead of Alexander-Arnold.

In the wake of the draw with the Danes, Southgate told BBC Sport that using the 25-year-old in central midfield was ‘an experiment’ and insisted they need to improve their quality on the ball when they face Slovenia in Cologne, with top-spot in Group C on the line.

He said: “Clearly that was not as good as we’d have hoped. At the moment we’re not using the ball well enough. We know there’s another level that we have got to find.”

Southgate flatly denied he had instructed his players to drop deeper after going ahead, something which has been picked up on by fans and pundits’ alike.

“We’ve definitely got to put pressure on teams better than we have done in these two matches,” he said. “That’s been part of the problem, but not keeping the ball has also been a big part of the problem.”

Southgate said Trent Alexander-Arnold had been replaced by Gallagher early in the second half to add energy to midfield and ‘to press better.’

Southgate added: “(Trent) has had some moments where he delivered what we thought he would – it is an experiment. We don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Philips, but we are trying some different things – at the moment we are not flowing as we’d like, that’s for sure.”

Southgate is banking on 24-year-old Gallagher adding some energy which might help England press Slovenia when out of possession, which is something for which is side attracted criticism after a sluggish showing on a heavy pitch in Frankfurt.

The England boss told The Guardian: “We are not pressing well enough, with enough ­intensity.

“We have limitations in how we can do that with the physical condition. We can’t press as high up the pitch as we might have done in the ­qualifiers, for example. And we are not keeping the ball well enough. We have to keep the ball better and build with more control.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.