England boss Gareth Southgate cast doubt over Trent Alexander-Arnold’s Euro 2020 hopes after the defender limped off towards the end of the warm-up friendly victory over Austria.
Playing in front of supporters for the first time in 18 months, the Three Lions got their tournament preparations off to a winning start at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.
England rode their luck at times but 19-year-old Bukayo Saka’s first international goal was enough to secure a 1-0 victory against fellow Euro finalists Austria on a night that ended with Alexander-Arnold hobbling off.
With his selection in Southgate’s 26-man group one of the main talking points before the match, the 22-year-old – one of four right-backs in the squad – will remain in the spotlight after picking up a late injury.
“It looks like thigh (injury) but we don’t know the extent at the moment,” the England manager said.
“Clearly it’s not a good sign that he had to walk off and looked in some discomfort with it, but we’ll know more in the next 24-48 hours.”
Southgate downplayed concerns over Jack Grealish, who only recently returned from a shin issue and was taken off in the second half.
Alexander-Arnold’s Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson had been due to play his first minutes for club or country since undergoing groin surgery in February, but the Liverpool captain remained on the bench against Austria.
“With Jack, we just felt that that was enough time,” Southgate said.
“I think you can see still a little bit of sharpness still coming and we didn’t want to overplay him through that period.
“With Jordan, we had hoped to involve him today. That was the original plan. This morning he wasn’t so happy with how he felt.
“We’ve scanned him just to be certain. There’s no problem on the scan so he’ll be able to resume training but we’ve taken a decision to leave him out of this game.”
Wednesday’s line-up is likely to be very different to the one that starts against Croatia on June 13, given Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea players were all unavailable following their European final exertions.
But the likes of Saka and Jude Bellingham, who made his first Three Lions start aged just 17, impressed on an evening that ended with Austria on top.
“I thought they were both excellent,” England manager Southgate said of the teenage duo. “They were as they’ve been since they’ve walked through the door, really, with us.”