So England have a vacancy to fill in their Euro 2020 squad.
The withdrawal of Trent Alexander-Arnold with the thigh injury suffered in Wednesday night’s warm-up friendly against Austria is heart-breaking for the Liverpool man.
It represents a blow for Gareth Southgate as well, though the right-back area is certainly one where England are well-stocked with Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James also in the squad.
Gareth Southgate has a vacancy in his England squad after Trent Alexander-Arnold was ruled out of Euro 2020 with a thigh injury suffered against Austria
The Liverpool right-back was forced off during the final minutes of Wednesday’s friendly
UEFA rules allow countries to replenish their 26-man squads right up until their first game in the tournament if someone gets injured or contracts Covid-19.
This allows Southgate the opportunity to draft in a replacement for Alexander-Arnold ahead of the big kick-off against Croatia a week on Sunday.
But where will the England boss choose to strengthen? We assess his options.
Added spark with Lingard
Many believed Jesse Lingard was unfortunate not to make the final cut following his strong second-half to the season on loan at West Ham.
However, the Manchester United man may yet get his opportunity if Southgate decided to replace Alexander-Arnold with someone positioned further up the field.
Tournament football is all about taking the few opportunities that come your way in the key moments of games and, measured on form, Lingard looks among the most likely to convert them.
Having just missed out on the squad, Jesse Lingard may yet get his opportunity at the Euros
Lingard would be one of the most in form members of the squad after his loan at West Ham
Sunday Friendly vs Romania in Middlesbrough
June 13 Euro 2020 opener vs Croatia at Wembley
June 18 Second group game vs Scotland at Wembley
June 22 Final group game vs Czech Republic at Wembley
Nine goals and five assists during his time with West Ham have resurrected Lingard’s career as he struggled desperately for game time at Old Trafford.
The rot had set in for a player who started a World Cup semi-final for England just three years ago but now he has regained that game-changing impact.
In Lingard’s favour is that he would come into the tournament in better form than other candidates for the spot.
Against him is the fact England aren’t short of players with explosive speed or that creative spark.
Would he be favoured to Mason Mount or Phil Foden in a central playmaker positions, or to Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish or Jadon Sancho as a wide attacker?
Southgate may decide it’s an area where England aren’t short of players who can make an impact.
Midfield reinforcement with Ward-Prowse
It’s a real concern for Southgate that Jordan Henderson now looks likely to miss the Croatia game.
The Liverpool midfielder is vice-captain to Harry Kane and brings plenty of international experience but he isn’t long back in training after having groin surgery in February.
Henderson had been due to start Wednesday night’s friendly win over Austria but complained of discomfort on the morning of the game and wasn’t risked.
James Ward-Prowse could be brought in to ease worries over numbers in midfield
With Southgate pretty much admitting Henderson won’t make the start of the tournament given his shortage of competitive football, it would make sense to draft in another in that position.
17-year-old Jude Bellingham played himself into contention to play alongside Declan Rice in midfield against Croatia.
But Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, who narrowly missed the cut having been named in the 33-man provisional squad, could come in as midfield back-up.
That would ease a few worries about being left short in the centre of the pitch with Kalvin Phillips and Mount the only others in the squad. Ward-Prowse is also an accomplished set-piece taker.
Jordan Henderson is short of match fitness having not played a match since February
Extra cover at the back
Harry Maguire is also touch and go for at least the tournament opener as he comes back from the ankle injury that curtailed his season with Manchester United.
Southgate ideally wanted to pair Maguire with John Stones at the heart of his defence but one of either Tyrone Mings or Conor Coady will probably need to slot in for the Croatia game and quite possibly Scotland and Czech Republic too.
With just four centre-backs named in the squad, Southgate may feel another injury blow in that area would leave his team looking really vulnerable.
Bringing Ben Godfrey of Everton or Ben White of Brighton, who were both cut from the provisional squad, back in may offer some peace of mind.
Ben White (left) and Ben Godfrey (right) were both handed their England debuts
Southgate checks on Harry Maguire’s progress as he returns from his ankle injury
Both defenders were handed their international debuts off the bench against Austria but they will obviously be short of experience at this level.
It would really be a pick just to ensure enough bodies in that position for what could potentially be seven games at the tournament.
Another option would be to revert to the three-at-the-back system England have used frequently under Southgate and bring Walker in on the right side of them.
More firepower with Watkins
Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins was another of the unlucky seven from the provisional squad who didn’t make the tournament selection.
He could get a reprieve if Southgate feels another centre forward is required to support Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
England have plenty of wide forwards at their disposal but may be light on out-and-out centre forwards, particularly if the unthinkable happens and Kane picks up an injury.
Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins could be called in as an additional option in attack
Watkins scored 16 goals in his first top-flight season and netted against San Marino on his England debut in March so could make an impact off the bench in a tight game.
He was always behind Everton’s Calvert-Lewin in the pecking order and with just one centre forward required in Southgate’s 4-3-3 set-up, Watkins is likely to be watching on from home.
Go left field with another right-back!
When Southgate did select four right-backs in the Euro squad, he said he’s have selected more if given the opportunity.
Surely it was meant as a joke but he could yet stun us all by drafting in a like-for-like replacement for Alexander-Arnold to replenish the stocks.
Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka would be next in line though he hasn’t yet won an England cap.
But with Walker, Trippier and James still there, surely England have enough right-backs? Surely?
Aaron Wan-Bissaka enjoyed a good season with United but England have plenty of right-backs