Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury is ‘no big loss’ to England, insists former Liverpool star John Barnes.
The Liverpool man was one of four right-backs initially named in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man Euro 2020 squad, but picked up a thigh strain in the latter stages of the friendly against Austria last week.
With Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James all in contention, Barnes says Alexander-Arnold won’t be badly missed – but believes Southgate should have named James Ward-Prowse as his replacement, not Ben White.
Barnes, speaking to Bonuscodesbets.co.uk, said: “I've never known such a fervour about one position on a football pitch before Trent got injured – and you could say it is probably lucky we already had three others in the squad!
"He (Alexander-Arnold) is one of our best right-backs, but we have so many options in that position, so it's actually not a great loss to England.
"It's obviously extremely sad for Trent and I feel for him but we have so much cover there, so it should not be detrimental to England's chances. If Harry Kane limped off against Austria, I'd be sitting here being far more concerned for England.
"It's also lucky for Liverpool that this bad-looking injury has happened in the off season."
Southgate has called up Brighton defender White to replace Alexander-Arnold. With cenre-half Harry Maguire still recovering from an ankle ligament injury, the Three Lions boss opted for another defender, with Brighton star White having impressed on Sunday against Romania in only his second appearance.
It is another blow for Southampton skipper Ward-Prowse who hoped to get the nod after also excelling against Romania, especially with Jordan Henderson still working his way back to fitness, but White’s versatility has seen him given the nod.
Barnes, however, says Ward-Prowse should have been brought in to balance up the squad.
“Trent's absence actually gave Southgate a great opportunity to add balance in central midfield where we lack depth – James Ward-Prowse fits the bill perfectly,” added Barnes, who won 79 caps for England.
"Whoever comes in is not going to start and may get limited game time – otherwise they would have been in the initial squad. That player will not single handedly win England the Euros, so it is important who they pick is not there to just make up the numbers and actually could contribute something meaningful if called upon, maybe only for a few minutes.
"With the central midfield area, Henderson and Kalvin Philipps have had recent injuries, Declan Rice is just back from one – so if one of them breaks down again, we look really short in that area. So Ward-Prowse, who is reliable and great at set pieces as Trent is, would make sense to pick. He also played every minute for Southampton so is clearly fit and trusted by his club and would slot into the squad perfectly.”