Southgate: James can play in different roles

Gareth Southgate has suggested that Reece James’ versatility could help the Chelsea youngster secure a place in England’s squad for Euro 2020.

James was named in England boss Southgate’s provisional 33-man squad along with Blues team-mates Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell.

Southgate will next week submit his final 26-man squad for the tournament.

Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka has missed out but James still faces major competition, with fellow right-backs Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold also in the provisional squad.

Southgate was asked about his right-back options at a press conference on Tuesday and pointed out that James can play in other positions.

“You’re looking at four right-backs, I just see four good footballers,” he said.

“Kieran Trippier can play at left-back. Alexander-Arnold can play at wing-back and I think he can play midfield.

“I’ve seen Reece James play on the right side of a back three, at wing-back and as a midfielder.

“In a tournament, those flexible players who can fulfil different roles will be hugely important.”

Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold has been brought back into the fold after previously being left out following some below-par performances for his club.

“We don’t know how the next few weeks will play out in terms of availability and injuries, what our best system will be with the players we’ve got available,” Southgate explained.

“We’ve got too many question marks as I sit here today, but that will become clearer.

“We know what we’d like to do, but we’ve got contingencies in place.”