The Man City injury that could impact Alexander-Arnold’s World Cup chances

    One of Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s direct competitors for a place in England’s World Cup squad is now a doubt to be involved in the tournament, with Kyle Walker undergoing surgery.

    Walker sustained a groin injury in City’s 6-3 derby win over Man United on Sunday, with the champions confirming on Thursday that the right-back had undergone successful surgery.

    No official timescale has been placed on his return, but various reports suggest he is now a doubt for the World Cup, which gets underway next month.

    That could have a direct impact on Alexander-Arnold’s chances of making the squad, a topic that has generated plenty of discussion in recent weeks.

    Liverpool’s no. 66 was part of the England camp for their September internationals, but played no part in either game and was left out of the matchday squad for their second encounter against Germany.

    England's Trent Alexander-Arnold during a training session at the FC Bayern Campus, Munich. Picture date: Monday June 6, 2022.

    England boss Gareth Southgate claimed Alexander-Arnold’s all-round game was inferior to that of Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James last week.

    Walker’s injury may increase the Liverpool right-back’s chances of being involved in Qatar, but there is also a strong possibility that Southgate would call up a centre-back in his place, having mainly used the City defender as part of a three-man defence in recent years.

    That could mean the likes of AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori, Crystal Palace‘s Marc Guehi or Arsenal‘s Ben White are preferred to Alexander-Arnold.

    There is, however, also the option of deploying Chelsea defender James as part of a back three, with the likes of Alexander-Arnold or Trippier deployed at right wing-back.

    England manager Gareth Southgate (Mike Egerton/PA)

    Walker will play no part when Liverpool host City in their Premier League encounter next weekend. Joao Cancelo is likeliest to deputise at right-back, with summer signing Sergio Gomez filling in on the other side.

    Those were the two full-backs that played in City’s 5-0 win over Copenhagen on Wednesday, with 17-year-old academy right-back Rico Lewis also getting minutes in the second half.

    As ludicrous as it may be, Jurgen Klopp certainly won’t be complaining if Alexander-Arnold isn’t included in England’s 26-man squad for Qatar.

    Whether Walker’s injury has any impact on Southgate’s considerations remains to be seen.

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