Gareth Southgate has called up Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold to his World Cup squad.
England under-21 right back Alexander-Arnold, 19, is uncapped at senior level, has not been in a squad before but was invited to train with the seniors at the last get-together for the friendlies with Italy and Holland in March.
It looks like being Southgate’s biggest surprise as, despite being tipped for the squad, to turn to a youngster at this late stage shows how highly the England boss regards Alexander-Arnold.
Southgate has been keeping close tabs on Alexander-Arnold for the last few months having watched his development through the age groups.
But what has impressed has been Alexander-Arnold’s remarkable performances in Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final, impressing in big games against Roma and Manchester City.
Southgate spoke glowingly about Alexander-Arnold just days ago, insisting he was a “very exciting player” in a TV interview.
It will be a wonderful surprise for Alexander-Arnold who has made an incredible rise in the last few weeks to become a mainstay in Liverpool’s first team.
Southgate’s biggest dilemma has been his defence because playing a back three means he wants to get the right balance of numbers in the 23 but Kyle Walker now being considered as a right sided centre half has opened the door for Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool pair Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne are both out of the running while Southgate is also expected to call up Danny Rose ahead of Ryan Bertrand who is due to be on standby along with Jake Livermore and James Tarkowski.
Southgate unveils his squad publicly later this afternoon and has already told Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere they are not in the 23 man squad.
Gary Cahill has also made the 23 man squad after Southgate decided to bolster his squad with experience.
Southgate has gone back to the 32-year-old after not calling him up for the last squads against Italy and Holland.
But the fact Southgate did not call Cahill on Tuesday was a good indicator he would be in and now the Chelsea defender has been told he will be in.
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