Keane claims England star has been ‘found out’ with team-mate ‘babysitting’ him

Joe Williams
Roy Keane on England
Roy Keane thinks Gareth Southgate will have a hard time not starting Cole Palmer

Roy Keane thinks Trent Alexander-Arnold has been “found out” in midfield for England with Declan Rice having to “babysit” him.

England could have advanced as Group C winners had they beaten Denmark in Frankfurt but instead put in a poor showing in a 1-1 draw.

Harry Kane had put Gareth Southgate’s side ahead only for Morten Hjulmand to level with a fine long-range strike as Denmark then enjoyed the better of proceedings.

It is a familiar pattern for England, who have never won the opening two group games at a European Championship.

A goalless stalemate against Scotland at Euro 2020 was greeted with a similarly negative response after they were booed off the pitch against Denmark on Thursday.

Southgate took the decision to take off Alexander-Arnold on 54 minutes with the Liverpool star clearly struggling in his unfamiliar midfield role.

The England boss also brought Alexander-Arnold off in the first game and Keane thinks the Liverpool right-back’s time in midfield has been a “huge gamble” from Southgate.

“When you’ve been taken off in the two games that’s not a good sign,” Keane said on ITV.

“I thought it was always a huge gamble to play a player who doesn’t play that position week-in week-out for his club. I know people say he drifts in there for Liverpool, but drifting into a position and staying there and starting are two completely different things.

“I’ve played midfield, it’s a tough position, physically, getting your distances and he’s come up short in the two games.

“It’s not all down to him, you’d have to put this on Gareth. It’s a huge gamble to throw a full-back into the middle of the park.

“And this was against two teams that you would have thought England would be comfortable and have lots of possession. It was a big ask for him and he’s not up to it.

“We talk about football in what you do in possession, it’s really important what you do out of possession and that’s why he’s been thrown in the deep end.

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“Okay he’s going to be comfortable on the ball and if you give him time he can see a pass, there’s no doubting that. But it’s the other bits of his game, the distances.

“Rice feels like he’s babysitting him in there and you can’t do that at this level, you will be found out. And he has.”

Asked about Alexander-Arnold’s performance in midfield, Southgate replied on Thursday: “He’s had some moments where he’s delivered what we thought he would. We know it’s an experiment.

“We know we don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Philips. We’re trying different things and at the moment we’re not flowing as we’d like.”