England manager Gareth Southgate has insisted speculation over Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s place in his Euros squad was “not true,” blaming the media for the uproar.
Alexander-Arnold was included in England’s 26-man squad for this summer’s Euros after an ongoing ‘in or out’ saga that baffled Liverpool supporters.
The right-back takes a place alongside three others in his position, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James, but Southgate says it is “unlikely” he will be used in midfield instead.
Southgate’s faith in Alexander-Arnold seems stronger than has been portrayed, as he spoke on the situation in his press conference on Tuesday.
“I spoke with Trent about three weeks ago,” he told reporters.
“So the stories over the last couple of weeks that have ended up with lots of strange headlines, lots of strange stories, I’ve no idea where they’re come from.
“But I felt there were stories that ran that were so far off the truth.
“I would never normally speak to a player. I read a lot of stories about myself that are not true, but I have to accept that’s the job I’m in and people speculate and write it as if it’s exclusive or anything.
“But when it’s a player sometimes, they might feel that they’re reading it so maybe it’s true, maybe the manager is speaking to the press behind their back. That’s obviously not the case.
“So even last night, we were still dealing with that, puzzled.
“He was there taking set-plays in the morning for the game tomorrow, then he’s reading that he’s not going to the European Championship. I really don’t understand it.
“For me, there’s no drama. I accept as England manager this is what I deal with.
“I always go back to the front page of whatever it was [saying] I’m the biggest fan of the Bake Off, I have Bake Off parties at my house and I’m desperate to be on the show. The only thing in the story that was true was my age!
“That’s the world I live in, but for my players, I want to protect them.
“So again, we’re having to speak to Trent last night to say ‘look, I don’t know where this is all coming from. It’s nonsense’.
“Because people then jump on it and say I’ve got an agenda, or I don’t like the kid.
“It’s an incredible situation really, but as I say, not bothered about it from my own point of view, but I do always think about the players.”
England play Austria in their first warmup friendly for the Euros on Wednesday night, with another clash with Romania to follow on Sunday before the tournament kicks off against Croatia on June 13.