Ashley Cole highlights Gareth Southgate’s misuse of Trent Alexander-Arnold as reason for England’s sluggishness

Hosts were 2-1 winners over Belgium at Wembley but failed to impress for large portions of the Nations League fixture

Alex Pattle
Monday 12 October 2020 09:19
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Ashley Cole has given his former England team-mate – and current national team coach – Gareth Southgate some tactical advice following Sunday’s Nations League win over Belgium.

England emerged 2-1 winners at Wembley after a Marcus Rashford penalty cancelled out Romelu Lukaku’s own spot kick, with Mason Mount’s deflected second-half effort guaranteeing the hosts all three points in the group-stage fixture.

But England were somewhat fortunate to come out on top and Southgate’s players largely failed to impress until late in the game.

And afterwards, Cole – a former left-back for England, Chelsea and Arsenal – highlighted Southgate’s use of Trent Alexander-Arnold as one of the reasons why the Three Lions both struggled with Belgium’s attacks and failed to create anything meaningful for long periods in the match.

“I don’t like to see him playing as a wing-back,” Cole said of Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold.

“He’s better suited playing from deeper and arriving into areas.”

Southgate played five at the back against Belgium, with Kieran Trippier on the opposite side of the defence to Alexander-Arnold, and Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker and Eric Dier – who fouled Lukaku for the striker to net from the spot – at centre-back.

“With [Alexander-Arnold] coming into that space, you start to see his range of crosses and passing. 

“He did most of his work chasing the left wing-back, trying to get in behind him, which I don’t think suits him.”

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