England train without two key players ahead of Slovakia last 16 tie

  • England are running through preparations for Slovakia clash
  • Declan Rice & Kieran Trippier didn't train with main group on Thursday
  • Both key starters remained indoors for individual programmes
England are preparing for the Euro 2024 knockout stages
England are preparing for the Euro 2024 knockout stages / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

England trained without Declan Rice and Kieran Trippier on Thursday, three days before the Three Lions are due to face Slovakia in the last 16 at Euro 2024.

Rice played every minute of the group stage, while Trippier almost similarly went the distance until being withdrawn shortly before the end of the 0-0 draw with Slovenia in matchday three.

It might be too soon to consider either as a doubt for the Slovakia clash. While the rest of the squad, excluding Phil Foden – who is back home for the birth of his third child, trained on the outside pitches at England’s base, Rice and Trippier stayed indoors to work on individual programmes.

Journalist Henry Winter described what the pair were doing as "load management".

Rice has been critical to England since switching international allegiance from Ireland in 2019. He was partnered by Trent Alexander-Arnold during the first two group games, in what has been one of the biggest talking points surrounding the team this summer.

Declan Rice
Rice has played every minute at Euro 2024 / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

For the Slovenia draw, Gareth Southgate opted to replace Alexander-Arnold, who had finished neither previous game, with Conor Gallagher. Fans were impressed by Kobbie Mainoo's cameo against Slovenia, while Adam Wharton is yet to get on the pitch at the tournament.

Given England's lack of control in the games played so far, all eyes will be on Southgate's midfield choices come Sunday and it would create an even bigger headache were Rice to be unavailable.

Trippier has been England's go-to left-back in Germany, with Luke Shaw struggling to recover his fitness after long-term injury. But the Manchester United player was involved in the main group training session on Thursday and had been for the previous few days.

Whether Shaw would have sufficient match fitness to start against Slovakia after his last appearance for Manchester United came on 18 February – more than four months ago – remains to be seen. Versatile utility defender Joe Gomez is the other left-back option at Southgate’s disposal.