Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, included at the last minute in Gareth Southgate’s final 26-man squad, is said to be “gutted” after he limped out of the European Championships and realised he’s lost his chance to re-book flights to sunnier climes this summer.
One of 14 right-backs in the England squad, the Liverpool defender had booked a summer break away believing the press reports that he’d be left out of the 26-man group, only to be included along with Paul Parker, Gary Charles and Gary Stevens.
But the England boss told reporters shortly after Wednesday’s friendly at The Riverside that it “didn’t look good” for Trent, and so it proved with the unfortunate youngster forced to withdraw 24 hours later.
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And close friends of the full-back told us have confirmed his disappointment.
“He’s gutted. I’ve just been on the phone to him and he’s said ‘I’ll never get that f***ing refund back now.’
“And not only for the flights – there’s the five-star hotel in the Algarve and for the 14 rounds of golf he’s paid for.
“It’s cruel beyond words.”
“And prices are through the roof now on everything. He’ll be lucky to get a tent in October in Skegness near a crazy golf course for less than a grand now.”
And he isn’t the only England player whose summer plans have been upset by the Euros. Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who suffered the heartbreak of relegation from the Premier League and conceded 2000 goals, had more misery heaped upon him when he was cut from the final 26-man squad.
He’ll now miss his planned summer break at Centre Parks having assumed he was better than Dean Henderson. “I left it until the last minute,” the custodian told us, “but I’m fuming that the gaffer wasn’t prepared to tell me earlier so I could have confirmed my booking.”
“As a family, we were looking forward to spending some quality time together after a difficult season. The kids’ll have to make do with a tent in the backyard and a donkey-ride in Blackpool.”
And another player who missed the final cut such, Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, is believed to be “upset” at how Southgate has handled the squad announcement.
A source close to the Saints player, who was an ever-present for the clubs last term, explained to us that: “James had a three-week holiday to the Caribbean all sorted, then he was convinced Southgate was going to pick him for the Euros just for his free-kicks – and cos Jordan Henderson’s crocked.”
“Now he’s looking at a week’s caravanning in Norfolk instead. He’s devastated.”
The England coach selected Henderson along with Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire despite both players still undergoing treatment for injury and has come under fire from certain quarters over his selection process.
And an anonymous source also told us that players are still unhappy with the standard of the Wi-Fi in their Middlebrough training base, which has made re-booking flights and holidays almost an impossible task as they play FIFA and try to stream Tiger King on Netflix.
We were told that one squad member had to walk two miles out of the camp to even get a decent 3G signal to contact their travel agent only to realise they’d forgotten their credit card. When they got back, Southgate had arranged for the entire squad to sit down together to watch Escape to Victory as part of a team bonding exercise. ensuring their new reservation was lost.
Reports that several members of the squad volunteered to break Jordan Pickford’s arm so he couldn’t play at the Euros following the screening have been firmly denied, however.
And an FA spokesman explained to us that Southgate needs all the players called up for his provisional 33-man squad to remain available, as it’s possible to bring in replacements right up until next Friday’s big kick-off.
When we suggested that it was unfair to keep players dangling on a string after a long arduous season when Air B&B’s all over the UK are getting booked up by the second, we were told that: “To be selected for your country in any capacity should be a proud moment for any player and although we feel sympathetic towards the people affected, we have to abide by UEFA’s rules.”
They finished by telling us that players who made the 26 should not get too concerned: “It’s unlikely that England would progress beyond the quarter-final stage anyway, which would give them all time to enjoy at least a couple of weeks holiday before reporting back for pre-season training.”
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