Jamie Carragher says that while it is “no surprise” to see Trent Alexander-Arnold left out of the England squad, he disagrees with Southgate’s decision.
England manger Southgate picked Kieran Trippier and Reece James ahead of the Liverpool star in his latest squad.
Southgate admitted that Alexander-Arnold has not played “at the level that he found in the last couple of years”.
However, he added that Trippier and James, of Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, have enjoyed “exceptional” seasons.
Alexander-Arnold’s drop in form has proved symptomatic of Liverpool’s wider problems this season. But Carragher insisted that he would still have picked the 22-year-old if he had the choice.
The pundit wrote in his latest Telegraph column: “Trent Alexander-Arnold’s omission from the England squad is no surprise to me. I’ve had my suspicions for a while that the Liverpool defender is in a fight to make it to the European championships.
“The decision from Gareth Southgate is controversial but understandable. I don’t agree with it because in a head-to-head with Kieran Trippier, for me it’s a no-brainer. Alexander-Arnold should be picked.”
Carragher added that Trippier’s 2018 World Cup displays and Kyle Walker’s centre-back experience made them certainties.
Meanwhile, he said that James’ “big immediate impression” on Southgate earned him his latest call-up; the Chelsea defender impressed on his debut against Wales in October.
“From that moment, Trent had a direct rival for his position and a serious problem. He has it all to do to change Southgate’s mind,” Carragher added.
Carragher claims Southgate should see bigger picture
The ex-Liverpool centre-back noted that Alexander-Arnold has played “as much like a wide midfielder than defender” since making his Liverpool debut.
The right-back has “flourished”, knowing that he has protection from the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho.
But Carragher insisted that Alexander-Arnold has in fact become a more well-rounded defender in recent months due to Liverpool’s injuries.
Indeed, he claimed that his fellow Scouser has become more moulded to the sort of right-back Southgate is looking for.
“Southgate knows that when England face tougher nations in a knockout round at the Euros, his side will go long periods without possession. That is why he is more inclined to pick a full-back he believes is more geared to defending rather than attacking,” Carragher said.
“I disagree with leaving Trent out of the squad completely because there will still be times when England face sides intent on defending deep, especially in the group stages. That’s when Alexander-Arnold’s skills can be invaluable.
“His set-pieces can also be decisive in close games. James may be suited to some opponents, Alexander-Arnold to others. That’s why I would pick Alexander-Arnold ahead of Trippier.
“The irony is that over the course of the last few months, the defensive side of Alexander-Arnold’s game has markedly improved. Some of his recent performances have been his most solid this season.
“He could have been named Liverpool’s man-of-the-match against RB Leipzig and Wolves, when the team kept back-to-back clean sheets.”
England play World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland in a triple-header starting next Thursday.
READ MORE: Southgate’s latest England squad in full