COLOGNE, GERMANY - Tuesday, June 25, 2024: England's substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold is brought on by head coach Gareth Southgate during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C match between England and Slovenia at the Müngersdorfer Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Early England team news hints at Trent Alexander-Arnold role in new system

Gareth Southgate is considering switching to a back three for England’s Euro 2024 quarter-final, which could mean another position change for Trent Alexander-Arnold.

In England’s first four tournament matches they played in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Alexander-Arnold started in midfield for the first two games against Serbia and Denmark, but was subsequently dropped for Conor Gallagher and Kobbie Mainoo against Slovenia and Slovakia, respectively.

This was despite creating more chances than any of his England teammates in the combined 123 minutes he played in the opening two matches.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - Sunday, June 16, 2024: England's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C match between Serbia and England at the Arena AufSchalke. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After scoring just two goals in the group stage and narrowly scraping past Slovakia in the round of 16, plus Marc Guehi’s suspension, Southgate could be set to change his system.

This week, he “has trialled a return to a back three in training” ahead of Saturday’s quarter final against Switzerland, according to the Telegraph.

With this change to a back three could come a chance for Alexander-Arnold to regain a spot in the side, but not in central midfield.

Instead, he could be deployed as an advanced right wing-back, with Kyle Walker moving into the right centre-back role.

It would likely be a welcome move for Alexander-Arnold, given he will be grateful for any time on the pitch after failing to come on in the 120 minutes against Slovakia.

It would also represent a return to his more traditional right-sided role and take some of the media focus away from his midfield venture.

And, with Walker waiting to cover behind, you would hope that satisfies Southgate’s defensive predisposition.

Of course, it hasn’t been confirmed that this will be the formation used by England against Switzerland, and they could indeed stick to their 4-2-3-1, meaning Liverpool’s No. 66 would probably remain sidelined.

Someone else who could benefit from an England defensive three is Joe Gomez – he has yet to play a minute of football in Germany.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - Sunday, June 16, 2024: England's Joe Gomez on the bench before the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C match between Serbia and England at the Arena AufSchalke. England won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gomez’s attributes tend to suit playing in a back three but Southgate is still not expected to pick him, despite usual starter Guehi being suspended for the quarter-finals.

Aston Villa defender Ezri Konsa is instead expected to replace Guehi, with John Stones retaining his spot in the middle of defence.

You do wonder what it would take for him to get a look in under the current boss.