Walker out, Wan-Bissaka injured: Alexander-Arnold has the chance to cement England starting spot

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By James Miller – @JimmyMiller2608

The first international break of the 2019/20 campaign will give four battling Reds the opportunity to impress in an England shirt.

It’s a particularly important time for Trent Alexander-Arnold. Along with club mates, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson, the 20-year-old was selected in Gareth Southgate’s latest squad for the upcoming games against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

The manager opted to select three quality players in the right-back position – Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who received his maiden call to the senior setup. Manchester City’s Kyle Walker – an national team regular for many years – was omitted, sparking debate across the country.

Speaking on his choice, Southgate said: “We’re looking at [Wan-Bissaka] and Trent – that’s the reason on this occasion that Kyle Walker isn’t with us. We feel it’s an opportunity in particular to have a look at two young players. Kyle has started the season really well, so I’ve explained to him the rationale for the thinking.”

Wan-Bissaka will have to wait for that senior debut. The Manchester United defender picked up a back problem, ruling him out of Southgate’s squad. It could prove to be a big miss for the former Middlesbrough manager – the player has started the season in fine form, settling in at Old Trafford with relative ease so far.

No further replacement will be called upon, so only one man will now challenge Trent for a starting berth in the upcoming games. Former Tottenham man Kieran Trippier has been brought back into the fold, having impressed early in his career with Spanish giants Atlético Madrid.

Seemingly unsettled at Spurs, Trippier made a brave decision to move on from the Premier League and test himself in La Liga. It appears to have paid dividends, having earned a place back in the England set-up having been overlooked for the Nations League finals back in June.

Looking back at Southgate’s team selection during the last international fixtures, the Atléti man could get some minutes. The position was rotated, with Walker starting against the Netherlands and Alexander-Arnold entering the fray for the tie with Switzerland. However, the manager has made it clear that he intends to assess the younger players within his squad.

In terms of pedigree – despite being the youngest option within imminent involvement of the squad – Trent has racked up a wealth of experience. Under Jürgen Klopp, he has proved himself a key asset, featuring in two Champions League finals already and blossoming into one of the world’s hottest young talents.

The upcoming games could prove to be the next positive step Alexander-Arnold’s development. He now has free reign almost to broadcast his talents on the international stage.

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