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Ashley Cole has solution to England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James dilemma


Ashley Cole has suggested a solution to England’s dilemma over whether Trent Alexander-Arnold or Reece James should start at Euro 2020 this summer.

The debate is raging over who Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate should play at right-back, with Liverpool star Alexander-Arnold, Chelsea ace James and Manchester City’s Kyle Walker all vying for the position.

James and Walker have had fine seasons for the two Champions League finalists, but Alexander-Arnold has been on form in recent weeks and showed he is back to his creative best as he set up Alisson’s incredible winner against West Brom on Sunday.

The 22-year-old carved out several chances for Jurgen Klopp’s side at the Hawthorns – crucially including the one which saw Liverpool’s keeper head home from a corner to put the Reds right back in the race for the Champions League.

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Alexander-Arnold has scored once and bagged four assists since being axed from the England squad for the March international break following an indifferent period of form earlier in the season.

Jurgen Klopp congratulates Trent Alexander-Arnold after he set up Alisson's winner
Jurgen Klopp congratulates Trent Alexander-Arnold after he set up Alisson’s winner

There have been reports he could be snubbed again by Southgate for this summer’s tournament finals – but Cole believes the Three Lions boss should take both Alexander-Arnold and James.

And the former Chelsea and Arsenal left-back suggested they could even play in the same starting line-up.

Cole was responding after fellow Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer said he would plump for Alexander-Arnold at right-back, in a back four also comprising City’s John Stones and Manchester United pair Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw.

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“The quality of players that Gareth has at his disposal is unbelievable,” said Cole. “We didn’t even talk about Reece James. Could you play three at the back with Reece playing and Trent a little bit further up the pitch?”

Legendary ex-Arsenal and Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole
Legendary ex-Arsenal and Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole

James has mainly played as a right wing-back since Thomas Tuchel took charge of Chelsea in January, while he started on the right-hand side of the back three in his side’s FA Cup final defeat to Leicester.

Walker can also play as a centre-half as well as in his favoured right-back position – and with Alexander-Arnold and United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka also in the mix, Southgate has plenty of decent options.

And Micah Richards said the Liverpool man could even be included in the squad as an extra creative midfield option.

Reece James has played at right wing-back, right-back and in a back three for Chelsea this season
Reece James has played at right wing-back, right-back and in a back three for Chelsea this season

“Regardless of if he’s in bad form, he’s still got to go to the Euro’s. And he’s showed, he’s got his Player of the Month award. And he’s just got everything to his game,” the former Man City right-back told Match of the Day 2.

“The thing is now you’ve got 26 players, he has to go, even if he has to go in that midfield role. For someone of that quality, look at his delivery of the ball, set-pieces.”

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