England’s need for a natural left-back was highlighted in the first half against Croatia in their opening group game of the tournament. Southgate has two world-class options at his disposal but chose to play neither, opting for 30-year-old right-back Kieran Trippier on the left side of defence.
Luke Shaw, who won Manchester United’s Players’ player of the year award, was expected to play the first game but was left on the bench. Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell, who joined the camp after winning the Champions League final, was left out of the 23-man squad for the match.
The decision has disgruntled supporters, casting doubts over Gareth Southgate’s ability to manage this golden generation.
Grealish on for Sterling and Shaw for Trippier. Honestly.
— The Score ⭐️⭐️Champions of Europe (@TheScore01) June 13, 2021
RB Kieran Trippier starting at LB over Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell (who’s not even on the bench).
The brilliant Jack Grealish benched for Sterling, who isn’t half the footballer Grealish is.
Jadon Sancho not even on the bench. pic.twitter.com/Ic2XicoPE1
— Euro20 (@_euro20) June 13, 2021
Sterling and Walker off for Grealish and Shaw. Trippier to right back. Can’t believe Southgate dropped his best Player.
— 🤡 (@NomadTrent) June 13, 2021
That just shows what a shit manager Southgate is…. Put Trippier at RB and Shaw at LB u bum
— Bharat™️ (@BharatMUFC) June 13, 2021
Choosing trippier over shaw/chilwell is a crime
— Shubham (@chickeentikka) June 13, 2021
Starting shaw and grealish> Sterling and trippier
— 𝔅𝔢𝔫 (@_BenP15) June 13, 2021
Trippier is believed to be one of Southgate’s most trusted players, and his tournament experience will have helped nudge the England boss in that direction but his side’s lack of of a natural left-back has been obvious.
Elsewhere, fans were also unhappy to learn that Raheem Sterling was given the nod over Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish, who also started on the bench.