Carragher urges Southgate to ‘sacrifice two of the best’ England stars for next Euro 2024 match

Joe Williams
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher on England
Jamie Carragher during his role as a Sky Sports pundit.

Jamie Carragher thinks England boss Gareth Southgate needs to drop Trent Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden for their next Euro 2024 match against Slovenia.

England struggled to impose themselves in their second Group C outing in Germany after Harry Kane’s opener in Frankfurt was cancelled out by a fine strike from Morten Hjulmand.

The Three Lions turned in a woeful display that lacked energy and a number of England’s starters in Frankfurt were criticised, as well as Southgate’s tactics.

Southgate went with an unchanged line-up against Denmark with Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold – who was substituted for Conor Gallagher on 54 minutes – playing in midfield again.

Manchester City attacking midfielder Phil Foden was ineffective in their first match against Serbia and now Liverpool legend Carragher reckons Southgate needs to drop both the Premier League Player of the Year and Alexander-Arnold for the good of the team.

“Unfortunately, two of the best Premier League footballers – Trent Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden – will have to be sacrificed now. The team’s set-up is not getting the best from them, or their team-mates,” Carragher wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.

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“Introducing Alexander-Arnold into midfield in a major tournament was always a risk. It has not worked. It is a more physically demanding position than full back, and on the evidence so far Alexander-Arnold has more time and space to utilise his passing range when he is in the hybrid role.

“Elsewhere in the side, nobody loves watching Foden more than me. But for England to come up with a system that works and complements everyone, he can’t operate in the starting XI with Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane if they are all trying to occupy the same space and positions.

“Kane correctly remains one of the untouchables – a world-class striker. His best work for England is with two pacey wide men. I would like to see a 4-3-3 with Saka and Anthony Gordon either side of Kane.

“In a 4-3-3, Jude Bellingham will drop deeper to assist Rice, and then it is a choice between the remaining midfielders. There are some suggesting Foden should stay in the side with Bellingham deeper. That wouldn’t change anything tactically.

“It has to be a midfielder who will bring energy across the pitch like Conor Gallagher, Adam Wharton or Kobbie Mainoo. That’s not a negative move; it is an essential one.”

Former Manchester United and England centre-back Rio Ferdinand criticised Southgate’s tactics, he said: “Lacklustre, lacked any sort of direction in my eyes, tactically well below par – we were overshadowed tactically, I thought, by the Denmark team.

“You have to give them that respect, they were well-drilled, tactically superior, pressed us better, pressed us together.

“I thought England looked very average. Our best players, our most decisive players, our best players (are) at the top of the pitch and we choose to set up to defend.

“We’ve got too good players to sit back and hope to get through a game. We need to get to the bottom of, are they being told to do this, or are the players actually just being forced to do that by the opposition?”