England began their final preparations for the 2018 World Cup on Saturday with a solid 2-1 win over Nigeria at Wembley Stadium.
The Three Lions were extremely dominant in the first-half and deservedly went into the interval ahead thanks to goals from Gary Cahill and captain Harry Kane.
An Alex Iwobi goal and a change in formation got Nigeria back into the game, but England saw out the rest of the contest and are now focusing on their next friendly.
Gareth Southgate’s men host Costa Rica on Thursday night in what is their final warm-up match before the World Cup in Russia kicks off.
Ahead of that game, it’s been revealed that one outsider will have the chance to earn themselves a spot in the starting XI for the England’s opening tournament match.
ENGLAND OUTSIDER SET FOR HUGE OPPORTUNITY
The Mirror have reported that Trent Alexander-Arnold will play against Costa Rica in Leeds and can win himself a starting place in Russia with a strong performance.
The Liverpool full-back was somewhat of a surprise inclusion when England’s 23-man squad was announced, given that he’s never featured for his country before.
Despite a few tough moments, Alexander-Arnold has generally impressed for the Merseyside club, especially in their run to the Champions League final.
The 19-year-old became a regular in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI this season and recorded three goals and two assists from his 33 appearances in all competitions.
WHY THIS IS A UNIQUE CHANCE FOR TAA
This is a massive opportunity for Alexander-Arnold because, unlike Jamie Vardy, he can actually play his way into a starting World Cup role during the Costa Rica match.
Leicester City star Vardy is also set to start on Thursday but, even if he impresses, has no real chance of starting in Russia due to Kane being the clear first-choice striker.
Alexander-Arnold, along with Jordan Henderson, wasn’t even on the bench for the Nigeria victory due to being given an extra break for his Champions League exploits.
WILL THE 19-YEAR-OLD START IN RUSSIA?
In what seems to be Southgate’s preferred system, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is being deployed as a right centre-back.
This means that Alexander-Arnold is in a straight, direct battle with Kieran Trippier for the right wing-back position in Russia.
The Tottenham man is in decent form but Southgate is a big admirer of Alexander-Arnold and knows him from his time in the England’s numerous youth teams.
So, a good showing at Elland Road and the Liverpool-born youngster is likely to start England’s opening Group G clash with Tunisia on June.