Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inclusion was a key headline from the initial 26-man tournament squad announcement earlier this week, but the Liverpool right-back has now been ruled out of the Euros altogether and faces up to six weeks on the sidelines with a thigh injury sustained in the 1-0 friendly win over Austria.
Such a blow leaves Southgate with a tricky choice to make – does he opt to call-up another defender from the reserve list, or will his strength in depth in that area lead to a reprieve for a midfielder such as James Ward-Prowse or perhaps even Jesse Lingard?
The England boss does not plan to name his replacement for Alexander-Arnold until after Sunday’s final warm-up friendly against Romania in Middlesbrough – could that match offer one last chance for someone to take the initiative?
Southgate’s spirits will at least be lifted by Manchester United players joining camp on Thursday, while their Manchester City and Chelsea counterparts are expected to follow suit on Saturday following the additional rest afforded in the aftermath of last weekend’s Champions League Final.
There are also plenty of storylines ongoing outside of the England camp, with Belgium star Kevin De Bruyne’s status for the tournament still uncertain after those facial injuries suffered in Porto.
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Southgate to name Trent replacement after Romania
England also confirmed yesterday that Gareth Southgate would not be naming a replacement for Alexander-Arnold until after the final warm-up friendly against Romania, which also takes place at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium at 5pm BST on Sunday.
Ben Godfrey, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Ramsdale, James Ward-Prowse, Ollie Watkins and Ben White were the players cut from the initial 33-man provisional squad earlier this week, along with Mason Greenwood, who also withdrew through injury.
Which of those six will make the Euros after all?
ICYMI: Alexander-Arnold OUT of Euros
In case you somehow missed the news yesterday, Trent Alexander-Arnold will play no part at the Euros for England due to injury.
The Liverpool right-back – whose inclusion was among the biggest stories of the final squad announcement after he was dropped for the opening World Cup qualifiers in March – limped off with a thigh injury during the closing stages of the friendly win over Austria in Middlesbrough on Wednesday night.
Gareth Southgate admitted that the issue did not look good and it has now been confirmed following a scan that Alexander-Arnold faces six weeks on the sidelines.
A spirited Greece fought back to hold Belgium to a 1-1 draw in their friendly international in Brussels on Thursday as Georgios Tzavellas’ second-half goal cancelled out an early strike for the hosts from Thorgan Hazard.
Belgium were missing several regulars like Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, but they were still hoping to send out a message of intent ahead of next week’s kick off of the Euros.
But Greece, who did not qualify for the tournament, proved dogged opponents with little regard for their hosts’ status at the top of the Fifa rankings in a feisty clash behind closed doors at the King Baudouin Stadium.
Swiss thrash Leichtenstein
Mario Gavranovic scored a hat-trick and Christian Fassnacht added two more as Switzerland beat their tiny neighbours Liechtenstein 7-0 in St Gallen on Thursday in their last warm-up friendly.
Edimilson Fernandes and an own goal from Noah Flick added to a comfortable night for the Swiss, who showed a vast improvement in tempo in the second half to put them in good stead for their opening Group A match against Wales next Saturday.
Ireland beat Andorra
Stephen Kenny finally recorded his first win as Republic of Ireland manager at the 12th attempt as his team came from behind to beat Andorra 4-1 in a friendly on Thursday evening.
The 19-year-old Tottenham striker Troy Parrott cancelled out Marc Vales’ shock 52nd-minute opener with his first international goal and then powered home a header to restore order in Andorra La Vella with Jason Knight and substitute Daryl Horgan wrapping up a 4-1 win as time ran down.
Injuries and Covid-19 protocols have robbed Mick McCarthy’s successor of key players throughout his time at the helm to date, and while victory over one of European football’s minnows may not be considered a great achievement, a win is a win.
Trent ruled out
A decision on who will replace Alexander-Arnold in England’s squad will not be confirmed until after Sunday’s friendly against Romania.
FA statement reads: “A scan on Thursday confirmed the 22-year-old will be unable to play in the forthcoming tournament so has withdrawn from the England squad to return to his club for rehabilitation.
“Gareth Southgate will not confirm a replacement until after Sunday’s return to the Riverside Stadium for the warm-up fixture against Romania.”
Alexander-Arnold OUT of Euros
England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has been ruled out of Euro 2020 due to injury, Standard Sport understands.
The Liverpool right-back injured his thigh during Wednesday’s friendly win over Austria, limping off the pitch in the closing stages.
England manager Gareth Southgate was not optimistic following full-time, and scans on Thursday have confirmed that defender could be out for up to six weeks.
Andorra vs Ireland latest
In a frustrating first half for Ireland in which Andorra keeper Iker Alvarez did not have a single save to make. Cullen’s rising strike, which sailed high over his crossbar, as close as the visitors came to breaking the deadlock.
Cardiff striker Collins might have done better with a 37th-minute diving header from Knight’s cross, but the scoreline remained 0-0 at the break.
Kick It Out statement
Kick It Out has urged England fans who booed when players took a knee ahead of Wednesday’s friendly win over Austria to unite and support the fight against racism.
After renditions of ‘Football’s Coming Home’ and the national anthems, there were audible jeers as the players took the knee at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium – the first time an England side have made the anti-racism gesture in front of a home crowd.
Head of player engagement at Kick It Out Troy Townsend said in a statement on Thursday: “Taking a knee was a gesture chosen by the players as a stance for greater racial equality in football.
“It is important to reiterate they have said explicitly that it was not intended to be connected to any specific political movement.
“All the players and staff who wear the Three Lions shirt with pride share a collective voice in the fight against racism.
“To those that booed, we ask you to support them irrespective of the gesture they use.
“The actions and support of all fans can send a powerful message across the whole country that football is united in the fight against racism.”
Man Utd players join England camp
Manchester United’s players are due to join the group on Thursday, with Luke Shaw, Dean Henderson and Marcus Rashford joining up along with injured Harry Maguire following the Europa League final loss to Villarreal.
Chelsea and Manchester City are set to follow in the coming days after last Saturday’s Champions League final clash in Porto as preparations continue at England’s north-east base ahead of Sunday’s final friendly against Romania.
“All the (omitted) players are going to stay with us through to the end of Sunday’s game anyway,” Gareth Southgate said. “Obviously we’ll make an assessment on the whole squad once we’ve got through that game.
“I’m very conscious we’ve got another 90 minutes to get through and that alone is a bit of a challenge for us, really.”