Ian Wright has questioned Gareth Southgate’s reasoning behind leaving Trent Alexander-Arnold out of his latest England squad.
The Liverpool defender who was PFA Young Player of the Year last season as the Reds marched to the Premier League title, was omitted for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Southgate instead selected Chelsea ’s Reece James, Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier and Manchester City ’s Kyle Walker as his right back options, citing the 22-year-old’s dip in form this campaign as the reason for his exclusion.
“Trent is very unfortunate but I don’t think he’s played at the level that he found in the last couple of years.” said the England manager.
However, former Three Lions striker Wright says he has been left ‘confused’ by Southgate’s explanation, suggesting that other players haven’t had the same ‘harsh’ treatment.
The ex-Arsenal man says Southgate should have just been honest about the fact he has other players he prefers in the role.
“The level of competition, you can’t argue with Reece James and his emergence,” Wright told ITV Sport during England 2-0 win in Albania.
“I think James Justin before he got his injury, he’d have got into this squad for these three games. I’m a bit confused by Gareth and the harshness of this.
“He said it’s ‘because of form’ but we’ve seen players in England squads who haven’t been picked on form. With what Trent has gone through, the meteoric rise he went on, now injuries have started to come, players not playing with him, midfielders not playing with him, it’s affected his game.
“Yes, there’s a dip in form but for him to be left out on form when I’ve seen players picked for England who have been on bad form, it seems a little harsh.
“Just say to him, ‘you’re not in my plans because I have him, him and him’, rather than say ‘form’. I found that a bit harsh.”
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Alexander-Arnold made his England debut in 2018 against Costa Rica in a friendly and was part of the squad that reached the World Cup semi-final in Russia, albeit only featuring in the group stage defeat to Belgium.
The full-back scored his first goal for his country in a 3-0 win over USA later that year.
His last England appearance came in the 2-1 Nations League win over Belgium in October.