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Gareth Southgate speaks out on Trent Alexander-Arnold & England’s right-back plans ahead of World Cup

The tactician has insisted that making use of TAA’s talents would not represent ‘a risk’

England head coach Gareth Southgate has, on Sunday, provided an insight into his plans for the country’s right-back spot moving forward.

The subject of the right-hand side of the Three Lions’ backline has of course taken its place front and centre in the headlines once more over the course of the last 48 hours.

This comes after a 1-0 Nations League defeat at the hands of Italy saw the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold widely highlighted.

Amid major struggles in the attacking third of late, Southgate’s ongoing reluctance to make use of the abilities boasted by Liverpool’s star full-back has seen him come in for heavy criticism.

Blessed with a wealth of quality options, England’s boss has long instead opted for the likes of Reece James and Kyle Walker on the right of his defence.

Kieran Trippier, too, is viewed as sitting ahead of Alexander-Arnold in the pecking order at present.

And the 52-year-old was not shy in providing a thorough and honest assessment of the situation.

“I don’t see risks,” Southgate began. “You can have a style of play and a way of playing, and a balance to the team, that… at Liverpool they find a way of playing that brings the best out of his attributes and that’s what we’re all trying to do with every team.

“You’re trying to build a team that accentuates the positives, and within the group protects yourselves against how the opponents might come from you.

“He does have a fantastic range of passing, we’re blessed with different profiles of player in that position, if we play with wing-backs, Trippier and Reece James are also exceptional with the ball, in different ways, and we’re always having to look at the full package with everything.

“If you assess the players on all of their attributes, they’ve all been to Champions League finals, some of them have been to latter stages of major tournaments with us, Trent’s won the league, Trippier’s won the Spanish league, Walker’s won the English league.

“There are so many good attributes about them, it’s a really difficult position to make decisions on, but we have to go with the ones we believe, and ultimately I’ll be judged on the outcome, as we know.”

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Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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