Soccer

England v Denmark talking points: Midfield dilemmas and Trippier’s big milestone

England can qualify for the knockout stages with a win against Denmark.

Phil Foden, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier will all be hoping to play in England’s Euro 2024 clash with Denmark.
Phil Foden, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier will all be hoping to play in England’s Euro 2024 clash with Denmark.

England head into their second game of Euro 2024 knowing victory over Denmark in Frankfurt will seal progression from Group C.

After a tense 1-0 win against Serbia in their tournament opener, Gareth Southgate will be hoping for a more rounded performance across the 90 minutes to secure qualification for the knockout stages.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the major talking points ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

Trent end?

England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold played in midfield against Serbia
England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold played in midfield against Serbia (Adam Davy/PA)

Southgate’s most eye-catching decision for the Serbia game was the call to deploy Trent Alexander-Arnold alongside Declan Rice in midfield.

A right-back at Liverpool, Alexander-Arnold revealed after the win that the England coaching staff have been working with him on the move for over a year.

However, his performance split opinion and he was replaced for the final 20 minutes by Conor Gallagher so it remains to be seen if Southgate sticks with the plan or abandons it at the first opportunity.

Bellingham to get his Phil of Foden

England’s Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring his sides second goal against Scotland with Phil Foden
England’s Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring his sides second goal against Scotland with Phil Foden (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Another quandary for Southgate to resolve is fitting two of his best players into the starting XI without clipping either of their wings.

Jude Bellingham was the match-winner against Serbia and arguably England’s stand-out player, while Foden was on the periphery for much of the contest as he continues his struggles of bringing his club form at Manchester City to the international stage.

Southgate insisted after the game that the pair can co-exist but if it does not click soon, comparisons to the Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard issue that plagued a number of his predecessors could emerge.

Danes out for revenge after paying the penalty

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel saves a penalty from England’s Harry Kane during the Euro 2020 semi-final
Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel saves a penalty from England’s Harry Kane during the Euro 2020 semi-final (Mike Egerton/PA)

England beat Denmark in extra-time in the Euro 2020 semi-finals, coming from behind to win 2-1 in contentious circumstances.

A Mikkel Damsgaard free-kick had put the Danes ahead at an expectant Wembley only for Simon Kjaer’s own goal to level for England and take the game into an additional 30 minutes.

There, England were awarded a soft penalty as Joakim Maehle was deemed to have fouled Raheem Sterling. Harry Kane’s spot-kick was saved but he turned home the rebound to send his country through to the final.

Denmark have not forgotten about the decision. Head coach Kasper Hjulmand said: “Maybe some of the players can take something from that.”

Fan friction

England supporters will be hoping for a much smoother ride when they make the journey to Frankfurt, having experienced issues in the previous game in Gelsenkirchen.

Travel chaos before and after the Serbia game left some fans stranded in and around the stadium and unable to make onward journeys once they made it back into the city centre.

With the Deutsche Bank Park, home of Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt, better connected fans will be optimistic of a better all-round experience.

50 not out for Kieran Trippier

England’s Kieran Trippier during the Euro 2024 Group C win over Serbia
England’s Kieran Trippier during the Euro 2024 Group C win over Serbia (Adam Davy/PA)

Kieran Trippier will mark a half-century of England caps if he starts as expected in Frankfurt.

The Newcastle defender has been operating at left-back with Luke Shaw still battling back to full fitness having not played for Manchester United since suffering a hamstring injury in February.

Trippier is a more than able deputy and one of the men Southgate had relied upon at all four major tournaments at the helm – but he will need another strong showing if he is to keep his place once Shaw is ready for action.