EPL

Rico Lewis hopes his versatility helps him make late push for Euro 2024 squad

By Sports Desk November 19, 2023

Rico Lewis is hoping his versatility will work in his favour as he aims to make a late charge to Euro 2024.

Gareth Southgate will name a 23-man squad for next summer’s finals in Germany, having been able to pick 26 players for both Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.

That means competition for places will be more fierce than in recent years, with Southgate admitting those who are more adaptable could have the edge.

 

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The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and Phil Foden can occupy several different positions on the pitch.

So too, can Lewis – the 18-year-old having already played in both full-back roles and in midfield for treble-winners Manchester City.

He has yet to make his senior England debut but was called up for the first time last week and will be targeting minutes in the final Euro 2024 qualifier away to North Macedonia on Monday.

“Obviously, in terms of a tournament, you can only select the amount you can select,” he said.

“It (versatility) can be a key factor in going or not going. But for me, I am not really focusing on that right now but I understand it is a key thing that could contribute to me being picked or not.

“Obviously he (Southgate) has asked me about where I want to play, my favourite position, stuff like that.”

With Southgate’s defensive options already limited in the current camp, Lewis’ chances of playing in Skopje have been further boosted with Trippier not travelling due to personal reasons.

Asked if he would be happy to fill in at left-back, where Southgate is particularly bereft of options, Lewis replied: “Of course. Anywhere I played, I would relish it. Whether it is right-back, midfield, left-back – I am not really bothered.

“I just love playing football and at the moment it is going really well. Any opportunity I get, I will do my best to take it.

“Obviously, it is not something I expected, especially coming into the international week when I was in the under-21s. Obviously a lot of things happened and fortunately for me I am here now.

“I have enjoyed every minute of it so far: meeting everybody, meeting the players, the staff, the training sessions, everything.”

Southgate himself hailed Lewis as someone who could fill the void given the number of left-backs who have been forced onto the sidelines.

“He is an option. He’s a versatile player,” said the manager.

“I’m really pleased with how he’s trained, he’s settled really well. He’s very comfortable with the ball. He’s played there a few times. He’s played everywhere for City.”

Lewis admits Alexander-Arnold is someone he will look to learn from, with the Liverpool man playing a very similar hybrid role.

“In a sense we are very similar – being full-backs and leaning a little bit more towards midfield, especially with England. and he is somebody I can take a lot of information from,” he added.

“I have had a few conversations with him and he is a very nice person. He is somebody I have got to know a little bit.”

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