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England: Southgate explains Alexander-Arnold and Maguire decisions

Gareth Southgate, Englandd
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The Three Lions boss has come under fire for his lineup decisions ahead of World Cup.

Gareth Southgate has explained his surprising defensive setup in England’s draw against Germany.

The Three Lions drew 3-3 against Germany on Monday. Die Mannschaft went ahead 2-0 before the hosts came back to clinch a draw.

Reece James started ahead of Trent-Alexander Arnold at left-back while Eric Dier and Harry Maguire played down the middle.

Arnold’s recent dip in form has cast serious doubts on his chances to remain in England’s lineup during the World Cup.

However, Southgate says the decision only reflects the massive competition for the full-back spots.

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Speaking to Channel 4, the England manager said: “It’s nothing to do with the World Cup.

“We have four right-backs with exceptional quality. Kieran Trippier is playing exceptionally well and Reece James has been one of the outstanding players in the league. 

“We know Trent is a very, very good footballer and that’s why we picked him in the squad.”

Southgate has kept Maguire in England’s lineup despite his recent form at Manchester United. The 29-year-old displayed another underwhelming display against Germany, giving away a penalty for Germany’s first goal.

“It is hard to tell from the side,” Southgate said. “It is the giving away of possession that is the problem, but look, as a group they have really come together this week. It has been a tough period for the team but they have grown.

“To an extent, we are always going to face pressure so we need to be exposed to pressure. We played a friendly against Ivory Coast in March and they went to ten men and it became a non-event and we learnt nothing. This week we’ve learnt a huge amount. They’ve had to step forward and come together – it will benefit us in the long run.”