Trent Alexander-Arnold is perhaps clever to dig out the vacation brochures and see where there is perhaps some winter sun on offer when the Premier League shuts down in November. Qatar is one option in fact but hotel rooms are briefly supply for some reason.
The possibilities of the Liverpool full-back being there on England duty are receding following his omission from last night’s 23 after being left unused on the bench in Italy on Friday.
There are few positions during which England possess a humiliation of riches but the correct side of defence is one and Gareth Southgate’s contentious call made it clear where Alexander-Arnold stands in his pecking order.
There is no such thing as a good time to be ignored however the last match before the squad for Qatar is called needs to be right down there with the worst particularly one where England, facing oblivion at one point, ultimately belatedly rediscovered their mojo.
After sitting out last summer’s Euros through injury Alexander-Arnold must now fear he’ll miss out on a World Cup too.
The omission of such a talent would risk a insurrection within the court of public opinion – particularly on Merseyside – however the frazzled England manager clearly feels Alexander-Arnold’s defensive frailties represent much more of a risk.
Game-changing passer, pinpoint crosser and net-buster that he’s, Alexander-Arnold’s primary responsibilities lie as a defender and on that front the doubts remain. Frank Leboeuf, the previous Chelsea defender, labelled Alexander-Arnold’s defence Championship level on the weekend.
While that barb is excessive the very fact is that Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James are all higher defenders.
Could Southgate trust the 23-year-old against, say, France in a World Cup quarterfinal should England by some means make it that far? The incontrovertible fact that he was not prepared to involve him against Germany last night suggests not.
The olive branch for Alexander-Armold is that there are 26 spaces within the World Cup squad and Southgate proved himself willing to pick 4 right-backs last summer before he was forced to drag out.
But having been omitted of 1 England squad last 12 months and packed off early from the Nations League mess in July, Alexander-Arnold clearly doesn’t fit into the special case category others within the England squad do.
James was first alternative last night, as in Milan and comfy on the ball going forward in Southgate’s favoured wing-back set-up, it was the Chelsea man who fired the starting gun on the England comeback in delivering the cross for Luke Shaw to finish England’s goal drought ultimately. What followed was the cork exploding out of the bottle.
Germany’s late equaliser after Nick Pope’s blunder was a frustration but on the entire it was a revivalist night for England. Sadly that was not the case for Alexander-Arnold who’s in peril of being the forgotten man for Qatar.