England v Costa Rica preview


Last Updated: 06/06/18 6:21pm

Trent Alexander-Arnold will feature against Costa Rica

Trent Alexander-Arnold will feature against Costa Rica

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold will make his England debut against Costa Rica on Thursday.

England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed the 19-year-old full-back will get an opportunity to play in the friendly at Elland Road.

It will be England’s final warm-up match before they head to the World Cup, where they are in Group G along with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama.

Southgate has also said Jack Butland will start in goal against Costa Rica, with Jordan Pickford having started the previously friendly against Nigeria.

“We will make a lot of changes,” said Southgate. “At some point Trent Alexander-Arnold will get a debut. I have no qualms (about starting him first World Cup game). That is why he is here.

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“I have not a player in the squad I wouldn’t think twice about putting into the opening game.

“He is here on merit, his quality has been top and he’s settled in with the group really well. It is a huge moment for him of course but well deserved.”

Southgate also said there are “definitely places up for grabs” for England’s opener against Tunisia on June 18.

“There are a couple of places that always as a manager you are looking at who your better players are but then form and physical conditional means it always evolves, a football team is a moving, living beast.

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“Everyone has to stay on their toes all the time, there is no room for complacency in training or slipping of standards.

“I am not sitting two weeks before a game and saying ‘That’s it, you’re comfortable as you’re in’.”

Harry Maguire, Danny Rose and Jamie Vardy could all start for England along with Alexander-Arnold’s Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson.

Costa Rica are in Group E at the World Cup with Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia.

They too could make changes from their most recent friendly, a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland on Sunday.

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