Debate continues but Southgate must have recognized the best England squad ever

T Here's who in international football is not on the team, but outside There's little thought about how an XI would work, and so much outrage at the supposedly shameful treatment of the outsiders, a trend that reached a new height of absurdity last October when England beat the number 1 team in the world, Belgium, and much of the post-match chat is still Jack Grealish. It was about how to play.

The trend for Gareth Southgate to be included on Tuesday is so common that the temporary roster he will cut to a 33-26 next week. The only real decisions to be made were the omissions of Eric Dier, Michael Keane, Danny Ings and Patrick Bamford - and even then Ollie Watkins' preference over Bamford and Ings came in March with Aston Villa coming forward. Bench in the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino.

In this context, waiting before picking the final cadre can be seen as indecision, but ruthlessness is perhaps an exaggerated quality in leadership. Twelve players join the roster late as they qualify for this week's European finals, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips suffer from ankle and shoulder problems respectively, Jordan Henderson is recovering from a groin injury and Grealish is back after a long time. absence with shin complaint. He needs some cover just to make this week's workout worthwhile.

Uncapped center defenders Bens, White and Godfrey, and fourth baseman Aaron Ramsdale will almost certainly be out of the game shortly thereafter. England in a hurry. There's the potential to have some awkward moments in the week ahead, but it doesn't look like anyone involved will literally go in La Manga when he smashes a hotel room, despite using Kenny G to create a soothing atmosphere. He said Glenn Hoddle would not be part of the final team for the 1998 World Cup.

If they have fitness issues, it's definitely better for Southgate to let players think they're always part of their plan than to have to call them back from vacation. . Nobody wants to be Trevor Sinclair 2002.

Where there are real debates, why not use Southgate's opportunity to evaluate eligibility and form as late as possible? The biggest of these debates is on the back right. Trent Alexander-Arnold, who left the roster in March, is facing a battle with Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James to form the 33 but final roster.

gareth southgate
Gareth Southgate needs to consider backup options, with fitness questions and club finals clouding his UK picture. Photo: Eddie Keogh / The FA / Getty Images

Alexander-Arnold is undoubtedly a very talented player, but he may not be the right type of right-back for Southgate. Talking about his improved form or defensive qualities in the second half of the season is a bit off topic: he naturally moves in a relatively forward position, which has contributed in this way 26 past three league seasons.

Asking him to work any deeper would be to destroy the great strength of his game, but playing high means there's room behind him that rivals can exploit – like Toni, Kroos did very well against Real Madrid in the first half of Liverpool's Champions League loss. With pressure, Liverpool can do their best to counter this problem: the problem against Madrid was less than aiming for the fact that Kroos had a few seconds to measure his pass.

The lack of time available for international managers and the Euro likely to be characterized by depleted players – something acknowledged by the increase in squad size – may well have Southgate failing to reach the required level of pressure and so not Alexander-Arnold three high-quality, less attacking It's worth the gamble when the right support is available.

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These broad tactical issues are what Southgate has hopefully resolved by now – so while all this flexibility is often admirable, it can be alarming to go from the back three to the back four in March. The next few days should be all about answering and fine-tuning specific questions about fitness and fitness. If it's about anything more fundamental than that, England is probably doomed whoever they choose.

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