“He knows there’s a challenge ahead of him…”
England are currently going through a golden generation of right-backs, with Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James all in contention for that spot.
On top of that, you’ve also got Kieran Trippier, Tariq Lamptey and Tino Livramento to worry about, who would probably feature regularly in any other England team.
Roy Keane and Ian Wright recently discussed the situation, specifically why Alexander-Arnold is not the first choice right-back.
Roy Keane and Ian Wright on Trent Alexander-Arnold
Speaking on Monday night, Keane said: “He’s only 23 and he’s still learning about the game. Sometimes, you’ve got to adapt, if you want to get in. I think he can play wing-back, but he’s only 23. He’s not at his peak yet.
“He needs to improve defensively, but of course he needs to improve. That’s part of the journey of being a professional footballer. He knows there’s a challenge ahead of him, but that’s the beauty of this England squad, there is competition for places.
“We want to see the best players in the team, but the key word is balance. You can’t play everybody, and it’s a good problem for Gareth Southgate to have.
“At this moment in time, Gareth can only pick eleven, and the balance is key.”
Wright agreed that he is an incredible player, but that James is currently “the player”, and we should instead talk about how good he is, instead of trying to force Alexander-Arnold into the team.
Reece James on England right-back rivalry
Speaking recently about the competition at right-back, James himself said: “I think each one of us have a different style of play. You know Trent’s obviously been at the top for quite a few years now and obviously Kyle Walker as well.”
“The competition is very tough you know and there’s obviously other full-backs that are not here as well that are also at a very good level.
“I’m competing with obviously very good players so it’s quite tough and we just have to keep pushing each other.”