Alarm for England as Alexander-Arnold hobbles off

England's Trent Alexander-Arnold after sustaining an injury as Conor Coady looks during the International Friendly against Austria at Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough on June 2, 202
England's Trent Alexander-Arnold after sustaining an injury as Conor Coady looks during the International Friendly against Austria at Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough on June 2, 202
Image: PETER POWELL / REUTERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold made plenty of headlines before Gareth Southgate announced his final squad for Euro 2020 and his inclusion could be short-lived after he hobbled off in Wednesday's friendly win against Austria.

Dropped for World Cup qualifiers in March, the 22-year-old Liverpool player had won a recall amid much speculation as one of four right backs in Southgate's provisional 33-man squad and then the final 26.

His first match back ended in obvious pain after some 88 minutes at Middlesbrough's Riverside stadium when he signalled he had pulled a muscle while kicking the ball with nobody near him.

With England having used up all their substitutes he lingered on the sidelines and was then booked for returning to the pitch without permission.

Medical staff helped him back to the bench as he covered his face with his shirt. ITV television speculated he had mouthed 'it's gone'.

"It's not a good sign to see him have to walk off as he did," said Southgate.

"We'll know more in the next 24-48 hours."

Former Ireland international Roy Keane, in the ITV studio as a pundit, agreed the signs looked ominous.

"He was walking past us there and he looked really uncomfortable," said the ex-Manchester United captain. "He was swearing quite a bit so it doesn't look good. Absolutely not. The guy looks in big trouble."

Former England striker Ian Wright also sounded pessimistic.

"You could see, even when he was covering his face with his shirt, he himself probably feels it's not going to happen for him," he said.

"You know instantly when you are injured and how long it's going to be. It looked like thigh or hamstring ... if it's that, and we're talking about 11 days, there's no way he's going to be able to make that."

Teenage winger Bukayo Saka scored his first senior international goal for England as Gareth Southgate's side beat Austria 1-0 in a friendly warm-up for the Euro 2020 championship.

After a tepid and goalless first half in front of some 7,000 fans at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium, the 19-year-old broke the deadlock with a 56th minute tap-in from a tight angle after the ball was deflected on.

Forward Jack Grealish needed an ice pack after he came off in the second half but the player said it was just a bit of stress to his shin and he was not concerned.

Southgate rested Manchester City and Chelsea players after last Saturday's Champions League final in Portugal, with Jesse Lingard starting a day after being cut from the tournament squad.

There was also a first senior start for Borussia Dortmund's 17-year-old midfielder Jude Bellingham, while Brighton & Hove Albion defender Ben White collected his first cap as a 71st minute substitute.

White cleared the ball off the line in the 90th minute, after earlier firing a shot just wide, as England lived dangerously.

Jordan Pickford made some confident saves to press his claims to be first-choice goalkeeper, punching the ball clear in extra time and tipping onto the bar as Austria threatened a late equaliser.

"I thought we started very well. We used the ball well in the first hour or so," said Southgate. "We were playing against a very good team who have got some very good players.

"The first hour was good in terms of quality. After that we needed to make a lot of changes, we needed to preserve people. We got a bit disjointed and a couple were getting cramp.

"We were hanging on at the end but I think it was understandable given all the changes we had to make."

England play Romania in another friendly in Middlesbrough on Sunday before their Group D campaign starts against Croatia on June 13.

- Reuters

 

subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.