Gareth Southgate explains Ben Chilwell absence for England vs Croatia
England took on Croatia in their UEFA Euro 2020 opener on Sunday afternoon. And, Southgate’s lineup caused a lot of confusion as he opted to choose Kieran Trippier at left-back ahead of Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw of Manchester United.
In fact, Chilwell was completely left out of the matchday squad by the England manager despite being able to name as many as 12 substitutes. It was quite a puzzling decision, and opening up on his call, Southgate said:
“It’s just unfortunate we can only name 23 and we’ve had to cover certain positions. I don’t like the fact we’re having to leave players out of the squad in a major tournament it’s not fair on them.”
Further elaborating on his decision to start Trippier instead of Chilwell, Southgate said that the Atletico Madrid man’s “communication and leadership will be a help”.
Chilwell had established himself one of the best left-backs in the Premier League during the 2020/21 season. Having arrived at Chelsea from Leicester City last year, the 24-year-old ended the campaign with a return of four goals and seven assists from 42 games in all competitions. (h/t Transfermarkt)
The former Leicester City star has 14 caps for the England national team so far.
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Chilwell had been tipped as a certain starter at left-back by former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho ahead of the game. But, Southgate clearly thinks differently. The decision is quite baffling, considering that Trippier isn’t even a natural left-back.
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