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Joe Root to miss first West Indies Test; Ben Stokes to captain England

England have confirmed Test captain Joe Root will miss the series opener against West Indies to attend the birth of his second child.

Root has been based at the Ageas Bowl with the rest of England’s 30-man training group ahead of the first Test against Windies which starts at that same venue on July 8.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Tuesday that Root would leave the group on Wednesday to be with his wife, Carrie, who is expecting their second child.

Root, 29, will therefore miss England’s three-day intra-squad warm-up match which begins on Wednesday and the first Test against West Indies.

In Root’s absence, vice-captain Ben Stokes will captain his country for the first time.

Root will commence a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he and his family leave hospital and rejoin his England team-mates ahead of the second Test at Old Trafford on July 13.

The ECB have also confirmed that wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler will play in the series opener despite speculation over his place in the side and act as Stokes’ vice-captain.

Earlier this week, Stokes insisted he would not alter his style of play if he was confirmed as England captain for the first Test of the summer.

‘I hope that I always try to set the example in terms of attitude and commitment,’ the 29-year-old said.

‘If I am in charge that’s not going to change the way that I go about things. In terms of how I want to influence the game, I try to have a positive effect with the ball or bat in my hand.

‘No matter what I do in terms of choosing what to do in a situation, it will always be the positive route.’

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Joe Cole says Alexander-Arnold has the qualities to play in midfield

‘He is one of the best passers in the country anywhere’: Joe Cole says Trent Alexander-Arnold has the qualities to play in midfield for Liverpool and England after right back starred in Premier League title win

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold has been outstanding during Liverpool’s title success
  • The 21-year-old right back has scored three league goals and supplied 12 assists
  • His brilliant free-kick against Crystal Palace underlined youngster’s class
  • Joe Cole believes Liverpool and England should try Alexander-Arnold in midfield
  • He thinks Alexander-Arnold has the passing ability to thrive further forward

Joe Cole believes Trent Alexander-Arnold possesses all the attributes to play in midfield for Liverpool and England in the future.

The 21-year-old right back has played an integral part in Liverpool’s emphatic Premier League title success this season, having helped them win the Champions League last year.

Alexander-Arnold was originally a winger but was converted into a flying right-back during his time in Liverpool’s academy.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been outstanding in Liverpool’s Premier League title success

Speaking on BT Sport, Joe Cole suggested Alexander-Arnold be played further forward 

However, ex-England star Cole sees no reason why Alexander-Arnold couldn’t be deployed further forward for club and country.

He told Early Kick-Off on BT Sport: ‘Trent has won everything in the game he can win. He is 21 and I bet he doesn’t even think about that.

‘He goes onto the pitch and is free. If I was Jurgen Klopp now I would use this opportunity to have a look at him in the midfield.

‘He is one of the best passers in the country anywhere. I would maybe even try him in the midfield for England.

‘That range of passing, the set-pieces, he is just a fantastic talent and he is going to be having the time of his life.’

Jurgen Klopp deploys Alexander-Arnold at right back but knows he is strong pushing forward

Cole suggested England manager Gareth Southgate play Alexander-Arnold in midfield 

Alexander-Arnold has enjoyed another excellent season, scoring three goals and contributing 12 assists in the Premier League alone.

His glorious free-kick set Liverpool on their way to a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday night, 24 hours before their title was confirmed by Chelsea’s win over Manchester City.

He has also won the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup during a memorable season and Liverpool have the opportunity to set a series of Premier League records with seven games still to play.

Trent Alexander-Arnold watches his superb free-kick fly in against Crystal Palace 

The 21-year-old celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the first goal against Palace

Alexander-Arnold has been capped nine times by England manager Gareth Southgate after making his debut in the friendly with Costa Rica just before the 2018 World Cup.

He scored his first senior international goal in England’s 3-0 friendly win over the United States in November 2018 and will challenge Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker for the right-back spot at Euro 2020.

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Joe Root warns England about 'formidable' West Indies pace attack

England captain Joe Root has warned his side about West Indies’ ‘formidable’ pace attack ahead of the upcoming three-match Test series.

Root’s side will play three behind-closed-doors Test matches against the Windies, beginning at The Ageas Bowl on July 8.

In the most recent Test series between the two teams, West Indies triumphed 2-1 in the Caribbean at the start of 2019, and Root expects his side to be tested once again over the next month.

‘We are very aware of the skill West Indies have and what they will bring to this series,’ Root told BBC Sport.

‘One thing that stood out was how formidable their bowling attack can be. It is really important we prepare well and we are ready for all of that.’

Leading West Indies’ pace attack will be the experienced Kemar Roach, while captain Jason Holder and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel will bolster the tourists’ resources with the ball.

Holder, the leading run-scorer on either side last year, is the number one all-rounder in Test cricket, ahead of England’s Ben Stokes.

Root added: ‘Jase is one of the most well-respected guys in international cricket.

‘He took the job at a young age and we are starting to see him at the peak of his career.

‘He comes across as a very good bloke. I am looking forward to chatting to him from a social distance.’

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Joe Cole opens up on walking away from Chelsea coaching role

‘I’m sure one day I’ll return’: Joe Cole opens up on leaving Chelsea coaching role to further career and why old team-mate Frank Lampard can go all the way in FA Cup to finish first season with silverware

  • Joe Cole decided before lockdown to leave his role within Chelsea’s academy
  • The Blues’ former player took a technical coach role at the club back in 2019
  • He feels the way the club is producing players has changed in recent seasons
  • A number of players have broken through since Frank Lampard took the No 1  job 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

For Joe Cole, walking away from Chelsea as a coach is not goodbye but hopefully see you later.

Just prior to the coronavirus lockdown in March, which brought the Premier League and the world of sport to a sudden mid-season halt, Cole decided he needed to leave Stamford Bridge.

The 38-year-old, who left the club as a player in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti, was operating as a technical academy coach since the start of last year.  

Joe Cole has revealed he has chosen to step down from his role working at Chelsea’s academy

The former Chelsea and England midfielder is looking to further his development in the game

His former team-mate Frank Lampard took over the No 1 job from Maurizio Sarri at the start of the season and Cole, seeing his close friend excel domestically and in Europe, had a jolt in the arm to take a leap of faith.

‘Just before lockdown I stepped down from my role at Chelsea,’ he explained.

‘I had a great time there and learned so much. It was really important in my development but I was planning on carrying my work with BT Sport and I was planning on doing study visits around the world with different managers and study visits within the FA.

‘That all got put to bed because of Covid but I’ll pick that up when I can and it’s back to normal.

‘I loved it there. I’m sure one day I’ll return in some capacity but at the moment, for my development as a coach, I felt going round and going to look and listen and keep my ears and eyes open was the best thing for me.’

Lampard, who is preparing his side to face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, has Cole’s seal of approval having seen in close quarters how he has worked, especially with young players that Cole helped to develop in the academy.

The club are fourth, a five-point gap on nearest top four challengers Manchester United, and having taken over with Chelsea under a transfer embargo, their best player in Eden Hazard sold to Real Madrid and a spate of young players thrust into the side to plus the gaps, Lampard has arguably overachieved in his maiden campaign.

Cole thinks old team-mate Frank Lampard has a realistic shot at silverware in the FA Cup

Young players such as Fikayo Tomori (right) have gone on to establish themselves this season

But Cole, who went on to win six trophies in seven years with Chelsea including back-to-back Premier League titles, warns that the days of giving the club’s young stars a free pass are over. With an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City on Sunday, Lampard can still cap off this season with silverware.

‘Expectation changes at a football club. Nothing stays the same,’ Cole added. ‘I think Frank has done fantastic and his staff, and the club because the decision to get Frank was a brave one, so I think they’ve all done great.

‘I believe that going forward now with Chelsea the expectations will have risen, and now Frank’s got an opportunity of getting a trophy, the FA Cup — which is massively important for a club like Chelsea, the tradition going back winning the FA Cup so many times is huge — and getting the top four. So credit to Frank, credit to the players. It’s been a terrific season considering the circumstances.’

Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori are among the young players to have established themselves from the academy. Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour, 19, is the latest to catch the eye from the production line.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen a squeeze on finances for many clubs, including those in the Premier League, and with a greater emphasis on producing players, Cole has seen the growing demand for elite-level coaches.

Billy Gilmour (left), who Cole had seen in the academy, is the latest off the production line

Working as a pundit for BT Sport, Cole harbours aspirations of going into management himself

Asked what has changed since he emerged as a 17-year-old at West Ham back in 1998, Cole, who retired in November 2018 and turned to coaching, admits part of the process is ‘drastically’ different.

‘The fundamentals will always stay the same but everything else form the outside of it has changed drastically,’ the BT Sport pundit said.

‘Credit to people who have put these systems in play. I think coaching in this country in general has got better and better as the years have gone by. I feel football has moved on and improved. Like every industry where so much money is thrown at it, everything’s looking for the marginal gains. 

‘The way we looked after these lads in the academy was unbelievable. It blew my mind. It really opened my eyes up to the evolution of football and all the different ways of playing – but the different ways of teaching as well because a lot of coaching is actually teaching.

‘You use the fundamentals and techniques that all the great teachers do. I learned so much from the people in the academy building over there. It’s no accident that Chelsea are producing a stream of great players and there’s more to come underneath it.’

The Premier League is back on BT Sport, with Newcastle v Aston Villa and Wolves v Bournemouth on Wednesday 24th June 5:45pm, and Chelsea v Man City on Thursday 25th June at 7:30pm. Watch all 20 BT Sport Premier League games contract free with the BT Sport Monthly pass, just £25 per month

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