Newcastle United have confirmed that Kieran Trippier has withdrawn from the England squad for personal reasons.
Trippier played the full 90 minutes in England’s turgid 2-0 victory over Malta on Friday but will now miss the Three Lions’ final Euro 2024 qualifier against North Macedonia on Monday.
“Newcastle United can confirm that Kieran Trippier has returned home from the England squad due to a personal matter,” a short statement read.
England have already sealed their spot as group winners, meaning there is nothing but pride on the line against North Macedonia, although Trippier’s absence could cause a headache for manager Gareth Southgate.
While the boss is blessed with a plethora of right-backs in his squad – Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Rico Lewis are all available – Southgate does not have a single natural left-back in his current team and has often relied on Trippier’s versatility to help out on that side of defence.
It was AC Milan centre-back Fikayo Tomori who played on the left against Malta, but the 25-year-old appeared uncomfortable in the new role and was hooked at half-time.
“We’ve asked people to fill roles that aren’t their usual position, like Fikayo, and it’s not easy for him to build down that side,” said Southgate after the game. “We’ve got problems with availability in that area of the pitch and you are trying to give some players a rest.”
In Trippier’s absence against North Macedonia, Southgate will be forced to experiment once again. Bukayo Saka, one of the Premier League’s top forwards, has plenty of senior experience at left-back, while centre-backs Ezri Konsa and Marc Guehi may be forced out wide to help fill the void.
Manchester United’s Luke Shaw and Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell, the two leading left-back candidates for Southgate’s squad, are both out injured, as is Brentford’s Rico Henry. Newcastle’s own makeshift left-back, Dan Burn, is also out with a back problem.
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