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GLEN JOHNSON: BETDAQ Brand Ambassador Glen Johnson look at whether international caps are given out too easily, high hopes for Alexander-Arnold and Southgate on the right path to Euros.

International caps handed out too easily?

I always looked forward to going away with England. It’s always nice to go and see your teammates and be in a different environment for a few days. It’s always a fantastic honour to represent your country and for the majority, putting on the shirt is a real privilege.

There’s no doubt that it’s still a dream for any young player to represent their country, though I do feel that these days caps are given out too easily. When I played, you had to earn your stripes in training before you got to play and it would quite often be the case that you could be picked in four or five squads before that happened. It’s completely different now with players often getting capped in the first squad they play in. I preferred the old method where youngsters and debutants had to fight for their place before getting in the side.

Right-back berth is Alexander-Arnold’s to lose

There are obviously a few candidates vying for the right-back spot in the England side, but for me, Trent Alexander-Arnold is streaks ahead of all of them. He’s becoming a key member of the Liverpool side and his performances in the Premier League and Champions League have surely made him the outstanding candidate for the role. As long as he can continue to do what he’s been doing, I don’t see any reason why he won’t be England’s right-back for many years to come.

It was interesting to see Gareth Southgate leave Kyle Walker out of the squad. He’s obviously a top player and has been a very good servant for England, but he might find it difficult to break back into the squad now. That said, there’s also the school of thought that Southgate knows what he can get from Walker. Trent looks to have the position sewn up for the time being and there’s also Aaron Wan-Bissaka coming through, so he looks up against it. Southgate is clearly looking to the future and both those players are very much at the forefront of that.

It’s always hard when you’re a regular in the national side and the suddenly you’re not even in the squad. I was quite lucky in that when I was playing, I didn’t have too much competition for my position and the first time I was left out was at the end of my career. No player wants their position taken and it will be a hit to the ego, thought it can quite often serve as added motivation to play even better for your club. Kyle’s a quality player and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

Southgate and the Euros

I, like most England fans, have been impressed with Gareth Southgate. He’s certainly bought the fun back to the squad and the players seem to be enjoying their time with England a lot more than they did with previous managers. The supporters are looking forward to watching the side play again and that’s a huge positive as it wasn’t that long ago that English football was under a dark cloud.

There were points during my time with England when it wasn’t an particularly enjoyable place to be. There were certain times when we weren’t allowed to see to see our families or have a day off. I think a lot of players found that strange as well as hard because those are things you get with your club, so why should that change when you’re with the national team? You get picked based on your club-form, so if those things are working for you when you’re playing for your club, there doesn’t seem an awful lot of logic behind changing it with England.

In terms of England’s chances at the Euros, I think we are still a fair way off mixing it with the big boys. The World Cup was obviously fantastic and Southgate has definitely got them on the right path, particularly as there are so many young players in the side now who are only going to improve. Their exploits in Russia will stand them in good stead for sure, but make no mistake, there is plenty more needed to compete with the best teams in the world.

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