Jurgen Klopp proven right as Gareth Southgate's England falter at Euro 2024 – Football News

Jurgen Klopp proven right as Gareth Southgate's England falter at Euro 2024

Gareth Southgate is under scrutiny after three underwhelming England displays (Image: Getty)

Jurgen Klopp didn’t mince his words regarding Trent Alexander-Arnold’s previous trial in midfield for England, bluntly asking: “Why would you make the best right-back in the world a midfielder?”

Despite being one of the most established right-backs in world football, the 25-year-old Liverpool star found himself playing as a midfielder for England in their Euro 2024 squad against Serbia and Denmark, but the plan didn’t quite work out. His natural flair seemed curtailed in this unfamiliar role.

Gareth Southgate wasn’t convinced either, substituting him during the draw with Denmark and then dropping him to the bench against Slovenia, only to bring him on in the dying moments of the match. When he did enter the fray, Alexander-Arnold returned to his usual right-back position where he has thrived for Liverpool.

The debate over whether Alexander-Arnold should be utilised further forward has been ongoing, yet despite Klopp’s steadfast preference for him in defence, Southgate has dabbled with the idea of him in midfield, albeit with limited opportunity.

Klopp’s initial reservations seem vindicated with Southgate’s decision facing scrutiny. Reflecting on a match against Andorra in 2021 when Alexander-Arnold was deployed in midfield, Klopp remarked: “In this game, in a game where England are that dominant for example, or that we are that dominant that Trent could play in midfield, I would rather he was the six than in this case the eight.

“That is possible but why would you make the best right-back in the world a midfielder? I don’t understand that really. As if the right-back position is not as important as the others. People who say that I struggle to understand how you could think that.”

Klopp further elaborated: “If you watch our games then you will see that Trent’s position has already changed. Not in all the games but in games where it is possible, so there is no need to now make him a midfield player. It is a little bit a shame that we talk in 2021 like this about football. Players play everywhere, especially good players.

“Trent on the right wing was already everywhere on the pitch. Some people think that because he plays 10 yards further up the pitch he would be more influential. Being more influential than Trent Alexander-Arnold in the last, I don’t know, how many years he has played for me is really tricky.

“It would mean I would have to have a proper look to find somebody. He plays the right position, we adapt and try and use his skills absolutely, but in the end the right-back is the one who defends the right side and he is doing that really well. All the rest when we have the ball, we use him as good as we can.”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1915446/Jurgen-Klopp-England-Trent-Alexander-Arnold-Euro-2024-Southgate