England rocked by Trippier injury as Southgate draws up ‘makeshift’ solution

Kieran Trippier is an injury doubt for England’s Euro 2024 round of 16 clash against Slovakia on Sunday, forcing Gareth Southgate to find a solution. It comes as the latest blow to Southgate’s primary problem position, and the Three Lions boss has reportedly settled on a makeshift solution.

The Three Lions travelled to Germany this summer with just one natural left-back among their ranks, Manchester United’s Luke Shaw.

But the 28-year-old hasn’t played since February, when he suffered a hamstring injury that ultimately ended his season in bad news for United and England.

Southgate took a chance on Shaw by naming him in his 26-man squad but he hasn’t yet played a single minute across group-stage matches against Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia.

Trippier has started all three outings but multiple reports now claim he is a doubt for England’s last-16 match on Sunday evening.

The 33-year-old is said to have missed England training again on Friday due to a calf injury, which he battled through to face Slovenia in the Group C curtain-closer earlier in the week.

Kobbie Mainoo replacing Conor Gallagher in Southgate’s starting line-up was expected to be the only change at the start of the knockout campaign.

However, it’s claimed that Aston Villa centre-back Ezri Konsa is being prepared to stand in as a makeshift replacement against Slovakia.

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez gained more experience operating as a left-back last season, but Southgate looks set to show faith in Konsa.

The 26-year-old enjoyed an impressive 2023/24 campaign at Villa Park, helping Unai Emery guide Villa to Champions League qualification with a fourth-place Premier League finish.

But he wasn’t once utilised as a left-back, instead splitting his duties between the centre-back and right-back positions.

Shaw was fit enough to feature on the bench against Slovenia, and Southgate could be looking to step up the experienced star’s recovery by introducing him off the bench on Sunday.

Konsa will view a start against Slovakia as a huge opportunity to stake his claim for a prominent role for the rest of the tournament, though.

Even if Trippier’s condition improves in the coming days, Southgate is unlikely to risk further damaging a position already handing him a headache.

England have been dealt a favourable run to the Berlin final on July 14, with France, Germany, Spain and Portugal on the other side of the draw.

It’ll be Italy or Switzerland for the Three Lions in the quarter-finals if they progress past a Slovakia side that picked up four points from a group containing Belgium, Romania and Ukraine.

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