With the rescheduled Euro 2020 just around the corner, Gareth Southgate’s England has received a major setback.
England and Gareth Southgate will be missing the services of potentially their best right-back, Trent-Alexander Arnold. Liverpool’s veteran defender had to hobble off the pitch during England’s friendly match against rivals Austria.
Gutted for you, @TrentAA.
Wishing you a speedy recovery! 💪
— England (@England) June 3, 2021
After necessary scans and tests, Southgate confirmed that Alexander Arnold will be sidelined for at least a month. A shock even before the tournament started, Southgate’s Three Lions will look to add something new before the Euros kick-off next week.
We look at the potentials who can replace the defender and what value they add to England’s roster.
The manager of the English ship, Gareth Southgate announced a 26-man squad that would participate in the Euro. And one decision that raised a few eyebrows on Tuesday was Jesse Lingard’s omission from the final roster.
Always proud to represent my country no matter the circumstance! 🏴🦁🦁🦁 pic.twitter.com/S8GQgr1H96
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) June 2, 2021
The West-Ham United midfielder has revamped his career after he departed from Old Trafford. A benchwarmer at the Theatre, Lingard has turned into a protagonist for the Hammers.
Lingard arrived at the London Stadium in January after a dreadful last couple of years with the Red Devils. But the tables have turned for the 28-year-old who is now enjoying his football.
Glorious goals, nerve-racking touches, delightful skills, and out of the box celebrations every football fan had missed Lingard’s presence on the pitch. With Southgate’s army lacking experience and commitment in the middle, Lingard could be the perfect addition.
With 9 goals and 5 assists in just a handful of appearances, Lingard presented a strong case for selection but the Three Lions were too busy building a strong back-line. Because of considerable options present in defence for England, Lingard deserves a ticket to Euro.
Another frontrunner to be included in Southgate’s final roster is Southampton’s majestic midfielder James Ward-Prowse. The attacking midfielder hasn’t missed a single Premier League match in the last two seasons for the Saints.
A dead-ball specialist, Prowse could turn out to be a lethal weapon for England during freekicks and corners. His thunderous ball-striking capabilities and an eagle-like vision could help to bolster England’s midfield perfectly. Trent Alexander-Arnold would perhaps have been a first choice for set-pieces for England but Ward-Prowse is no slouch and is perhaps better suited to replace him than any.
James Ward-Prowse is the best free-kick taker in the league.
ⓘ 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲 pic.twitter.com/z1mNdWC0dg
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) November 17, 2020
The heart of the Saints’ midfield Prowse provides an injection of speed and enthusiasm to Southgate’s men. The 26-year-old covers every inch of the grass tirelessly and succours both attack and defence.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) June 2, 2021
With 8 glorious goals, this season Prowse proved to be the fulcrum of Southampton’s journey. Ward-Prowse’s aerial abilities have constantly been under the scanner but he makes up for it with his majestic playing style. The Three Lions’ midfielder rarely misplaces a pass, dictates the tempo of the game, and does it all quite effortlessly.
England’s midfield consists of young-bloods but to win trophies you need a hint of experience which Prowse could provide. The modern-day Beckham of the Three Lions, Gareth Southgate will be staring at Ward Prowse from the corner of his eye.
Aston Villa centre-forward Ollie Watkins is another fascinating choice present in front of Gareth Southgate. The towering centre-forward has been instrumental in Aston Villa’s success and England will once again bank on him.
The ex-Brentford striker impressed one and all after he was purchased by the Claret and Blue. Netting 14 goals in his maiden Premier League season, Watkins adds the extra height and flair in England’s attack.
Ollie Watkins' 𝟭𝟱𝘁𝗵 goal for club and country in all competitions so far this season. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/R2JzVdUnTt
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) April 11, 2021
Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling have had hot and cold campaigns with the latter being constantly benched. Watkin’s inclusion to the Three Lions could strengthen Southgate’s attacking army.
A perfect backup to Harry Kane, Watkins has the strength and determination to capture balls in the air as well as on the ground. The English youngster also has a great assist tally, providing five assists this season for the Claret and Blue.
Since it's his birthday… 😉
Throwback to Ollie Watkins' stunning hat-trick v Liverpool! 🎩 pic.twitter.com/OZtjSYg6Oc
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 30, 2020
With just two appearances for his national outfit, Watkins netted his first international goal on his debut against San Marino. With Alexander-Arnold out of contention, Ollie Watkins could be on Gareth Southgate’s mind because of the strength, hard work, and determination he brings to the table. If given a shot at the Euro, the Villa poacher could prove devastating because of his deadly goal-scoring abilities.
England’s major headache on the eve of the Euro could weaken their chances to capture the silverware. Fortunately, Gareth Southgate has a pool of excellent players to choose and replace from. The likes of Lingard and Ward-Prowse could be pivotal for the Three Lions’ midfield whereas Ollie Watkins adds the extra spice in the attack.
Southgate could also look to add backup to defence with Ben White or Ben Godfrey but that looks unlikely. With so many options present in front of Southgate, replacing Trent should not be troublesome for the experienced manager.