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Alexander-Arnold was called up by Southgate for England’s recent Nations League games against Italy and Germany.

Southgate instead played Chelsea’s Reece James at right wing-back and has also preferred Manchester City defender Kyle Walker and Newcastle’s Trippier to Alexander-Arnold during his time in charge of the Three Lions.

Southgate says he believes Trippier’s all-round game is superior to that of Alexander-Arnold, who now faces a battle to make England’s World Cup squad.

“I’ve had long conversations with all of them,” Southgate said.

“The other night [against Italy], we didn’t need the left-back cover. Against Germany, we did because of the way we went with the team so we needed Chilly [Ben Chilwell] on the bench and we had Kieran who, at the moment, I feel his all-round game is ahead [of Alexander-Arnold].”

Alexander-Arnold did not feature for England against Italy or Germany (Image: Alamy)Southgate’s comments are likely to anger Liverpool supporters, with Alexander-Arnold playing a major role in the club’s success in recent seasons.

The 23-year-old has scored 14 goals and provided 62 assists in 235 games for Liverpool, helping his boyhood club win the Champions League, Premier League, Club World Cup, FA Cup and League Cup under Jurgen Klopp.

Southgate, meanwhile, has also defended his decision to continue playing Manchester United defender Harry Maguire.

The England boss has faced calls for him to drop Maguire, who has lost his starting place at United this season under new manager Erik ten Hag.

Explaining his decision to continue playing the central defender, Southgate said: “I know everybody says he’s important to me, he’s important to us. It’s us, it’s not me.

Southgate has defended his decision to continue playing Harry Maguire (Image: Alamy)”Why do we pick him? Because he’s one of the players who give us the best chance of winning.

“So, really, we should all be wanting a Harry Maguire that’s playing regularly and playing with confidence.

“That applies to, of course, quite a few players but he’s the one that everything lands on, which must be a tough space for him, really, but he’s showing tremendous character.”

Southgate’s attention will now turn to the World Cup in Qatar, which begins on November 20.

England face Iran in their opening game on November 21 before taking on the United States (November 25) and Wales (November 29) in their remaining group matches.