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Trent Alexander-Arnold backs Harry Kane amid clamour for captain to be dropped

Trent Alexander-Arnold insists the Netherlands would love to face an England side without Harry Kane in their Euro 2024 semi-final after the captain came in for criticism following recent performances.

Kane has two goals at the finals but his all-round play has drawn plenty of questions as he has been on the periphery of a number of games, in particular the quarter-final penalty shoot-out win over Switzerland.

The Bayern Munich striker was replaced during extra time following a nasty fall into the England technical area and watched on as his team-mates scored all five spot-kicks to book a clash against the Dutch in Dortmund on Wednesday.

England’s Harry Kane looks dejected after Switzerland’s Breel Embolo (not pictured) scores for Switzerland

Since then, there has been a clamour for Kane to be dropped for the crunch game, despite his fantastic tournament record and his place as England’s all-time leading goalscorer.

“Anyone who is facing England would like to see Harry Kane not playing,” Alexander-Arnold said when asked if the Netherlands would be pleased if Kane was left out by Gareth Southgate.

“I think we are talking about England’s record goalscorer so that is as big as anything you can say about him.

“He scores goals, he is a striker, he scored two in the tournament, helped us win games and then as our captain, as our leader, he is someone who leads by example and puts everything into games.

“So whether or not he is getting criticised, people will always have opinions and people will always say things but he is leading us into a semi-final on Wednesday so he must be doing something right.

“He is part of the reason why the environment is such a good one within camp. And a reason why we are heading to a semi-final.”

Liverpool full-back Alexander-Arnold would have come up against Kane on numerous occasions during his time at Tottenham and admits it was always a tough challenge facing his compatriot.

“You just know he is a threat,” he added.

“Anything in and around the box, you need to be on red alert. He can finish it from any angle. I always say he is the best finisher I have seen or played with.

“He can find the back of the net from anywhere. He can drop down and build play up and his hold-up play is incredible, too. All round, a fantastic player.”

Alexander-Arnold came off the bench to score the winning penalty against Switzerland, having been dropped from the starting XI after the opening two group games in Germany.

The 25-year-old started in midfield against Serbia and Denmark, something manager Gareth Southgate described as an “experiment”.

Alexander-Arnold was replaced in both games and is now providing a support role off the bench but is ready to do whatever is needed from him in an attempt to help England to Euro 2024 glory.

“The message from the start of the tournament was that all 26 players are going to be needed,” he said.

England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold scores the winning penalty in the shoot-out victory against Switzerland
England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold scores the winning penalty in the shoot-out victory against Switzerland. (Adam Davy/PA)

“As a player, all 26 of us want to play as many minutes as we can. Obviously that isn’t possible, so the manager has to pick a team and we all respect his decisions.

“I think for me it’s all part and parcel of football. The game takes you on a journey. Of course I would have liked to keep my position in the team and be starting every game, but the manager has made decisions and I respect his decisions. And they have worked – we are still in the competition.

“We are looking forward to a semi-final. No matter what, the team always comes first and you have to buy into that to give the team the best chance possible and be ready for your moment whenever that comes.

“There’s no negative vibes or energy around any of the decisions that get made, you’ve got to be ready for the moment when it comes and I think the other day I epitomised that more than anything.”