New England hero Wharton sends Southgate plea after failed Alexander-Arnold role

New England hero Wharton sends Southgate plea after failed Alexander-Arnold role

Adam Wharton is confident he can be the solution to the midfield crisis that has hampered Gareth Southgate’s quest to make England European champions.

Southgate’s decision to play Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield alongside Declan Rice, due to the unavailability of Manchester City‘s Kalvin Phillips, has been met with widespread criticism. Many are questioning why a team brimming with talent is failing to perform.

The England boss boldly included 20 year old Wharton in his squad after an impressive debut last month, along with Manchester United youngster Kobbie Mainoo. However, Wharton has yet to feature in Germany.

On Saturday, Wharton made a strong case for why such a pivotal role should be filled by a specialist rather than a repositioned full-back.

“I didn’t think Trent had that bad a game,” Wharton diplomatically remarked on Alexander-Arnold’s performances against Serbia and Denmark, during the Three Lions’ press conference on Saturday.

“I wouldn’t say he struggled. Yes, he has not played there a million times, we all know that, but you can see the quality he has when we are in position, switching the ball, always looking forward.”

When asked about his Southgate’s odd admittance regarding England being without a player like Phillips, Wharton retorted: “I don’t really look at it or think about it. I just play how I play and I know that if I do that then I can help the team get forward, move the ball down the pitch, beat the press, that kind of stuff.

“If I was to describe my game I would just say ‘it’s pretty simple but effective. ‘ If you’ve got great players in attack, like the (Jude) Bellinghams, the (Phil) Fodens, then you have to get them in the pockets.

“All I want to do if you’ve got players like that is give them the ball because that’s when they come alive to produce bits of magic, create chances, score goals, things like that.”

Despite his unassuming personality, Wharton, who signed with Crystal Palace from hometown club Blackburn in a £18million deal earlier this year, quickly caught Southgate’s attention with a compelling cameo during England’s friendly against Bosnia.

Even as criticism mounts over the quality of England’s recent performances, Wharton chooses to focus on results ahead of aesthetics, reminding critics that England sit atop Group C with a comfortable lead, ahead of their Slovenia face-off.

Wharton, eager for action, stated: “I think I’ve got belief that no matter who, where, when I play football, that I can affect a game – so I think you have to think like that.

“If I think I can’t handle this, then what am I doing here?

“The way I look at it now, I believe I can affect any game I play in so I am just making sure I am ready if I am called upon to help.

“I think I have been always been confident in my ability because, for me, I try and live the game in my head as much as with my feet, whether that is making a movement to move the opposition so someone else can get the ball or trying to think a couple of passes ahead so when I do get the ball, I already know where I am going to play.

“If people think that is special then maybe it is – but for me it is just normal.”