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Monday, 14 October 2019

Euro 2020 hopefuls England must tighten up at the back, says Alexander-Arnold

AFP , Thursday 10 Oct 2019
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Euro 2020 hopefuls England must tighten up at the back, says Alexander-Arnold (Photo: AFP)
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Trent Alexander-Arnold says England must improve their defensive record if they are to stand any chance of winning Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate's side can assure themselves of a place in next year's finals if they beat the Czech Republic in their Group A qualifier in Prague on Friday.

England are firm favourites to advance after a perfect start to the qualification campaign, including a 5-0 win over their next opponents at Wembley in March.

England have a wealth of attacking options including Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho but have had defensive problems in recent matches.

A 5-3 win over Kosovo at Southampton last month did little to paper over cracks that showed when the Netherlands won 3-1 in the Nations League semi-final in June.

Individual errors accounted for many of the goals shipped across those two games as Southgate continues to strive for a settled back four.

"If we want to be regarded as one of the best teams in Europe and go far in the Euros, and try and win the competition, our clean sheets and goals conceded must be fewer," Liverpool full-back Alexander-Arnold said.

"We have to concede fewer goals. As defenders, as a team and as a unit we know where to improve and where to work on.

"Some games, it just happens. We will analyse what went wrong and try and make sure it does not happen again."

Champions League-winning right-back Alexander-Arnold will battle with Kieran Trippier for a place in Southgate's team.

James Maddison has withdrawn from the England squad for the two Euro 2020 qualifiers due to illness.

The Leicester midfielder, 22, has made an impressive start to the Premier League campaign and was in strong contention to make a senior debut.

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