Southgate CAN call upon both Trent and Bellingham, says Chris Sutton

Gareth Southgate CAN call upon both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jude Bellingham in his England starting XI, Chris Sutton argues on It’s All Kicking Off – but Liverpool star must be tested in new midfield role against top sides

  • Alexander-Arnold played a starring role for the Three Lions as No 10 vs Malta 
  • Bellingham was forced to leave the camp as he continues to recover from injury
  • Trent and Bellingham can play together but can’t get in each other’s way – IAKO 

Chris Sutton has argued on Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off podcast that Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jude Bellingham can play together in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI, but only if the Liverpool player can prove his worth in the position against top sides.

Alexander-Arnold distinguished himself for England against Malta on Friday during the side’s somewhat uninspiring 2-0 win against the European minnows, as Southgate opted to deploy the player further up the field. 

The 25-year-old looked impressive as a playmaker for his international side, and earned himself the Player of the Match award in the contest at Wembley ahead of last weekend. 

But Southgate was unable to trial the player alongside England’s midfield superstar Bellingham, after the Real Madrid man left the camp as he continues to recover from a dislocated shoulder. 

After a blistering start to life in LaLiga – which has seen the 20-year-old score 13 in 14 appearances – Bellingham will likely play a key role in England’s quest for a major title at next year’s European championships. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s new role for England in central midfield could see him play alongside Jude Bellingham at EURO 2024, but he’ll need to prove his worth against the very top outfits

The Real Madrid starlet is almost undroppable for Southgate, but had to leave camp with injury

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But Mail Sport’s chief football editor Ian Ladyman wondered if it was possible to see both Bellingham and Alexander-Arnold feature alongside one another when both fit and firing – with Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips both increasingly unlikely to make the starting XI in Germany next summer. 

‘That role Alexander-Arnold (has played for England) he’s part of the holding (midfield) but he’s absolutely at liberty to go forward as he did, and pass the ball well, and get involved – if he does that, when Jude “Hollywood” Bellingham is back in the team, does he risk getting in Bellingham’s way a little bit?’ Ladyman questioned. 

‘Should Bellingham be allowed to almost occupy that kind of No 10 area just (by) himself, because he’s so good, without someone else trying to get a bit of the action?’ 

Sutton, however, made light work of Ladyman’s suggestion, with a rejoinder described as ‘withering’ as he argued: ‘It’s not like under-10 football, where you have Johnny and Peter bumping into each other. 

‘I think Trent understands the game well enough not to get in Jude Bellingham’s way.’ 

The pair later discussed the importance of Alexander-Arnold being tested against bigger teams, with Ladyman noting: ‘Trent was brilliant against Malta on Friday. He was brilliant when England butchered North Macedonia at Old Trafford at the end of last season. 

‘Fair play, he’s played really well in that position – he’s playing again, I believe (on Monday night) in centre-mid again in Skopje against North Macedonia. But he needs to be given the chance now to see if he can do it against a good side. 

The Liverpool player took home the Player of the Match award in England’s 2-0 win vs Malta

Alexander-Arnold could unseat former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson (foreground)

‘England have got two friendlies coming up before the Euros, Brazil and Belgium. To me, Trent has got to play centre-mid in those two games, because we’ve got to know.’

Sutton agreed, calling Ladyman’s reasoning ‘absolutely spot-on’.   

Alexander-Arnold has been increasingly used in a hybrid role further up the pitch at club level as well as for his country, which has in part spurred Liverpool to a strong second place in the Premier League table after a fast start to their campaign. 

After recording a 3-0 home victory against Brentford before the break, Jurgen Klopp’s side will be keen to kick on in arguably their greatest test thus far this season, which sees them travel to the Etihad to face Manchester City on Saturday afternoon. 


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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