Gareth Southgate says Kieran Trippier's communication and leadership were the reasons behind his decision to start for England in their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.

The Atletico Madrid man was preferred to natural options Luke Shaw and Ben Chillwell at left back with Manchester City's Kyle Walker on the right.

The decision was greeted with disappointment by plenty of England fans while pundits Alan Shearer and Micah Richards expressed their surprise at the call.

But Southgate believes former Burnley man Trippier is the right man for the test against the 2018 World Cup runners-up.

"With Kieran we feel he's a very experienced player and a good 1 v 1 defender to stop crosses coming in," said the Three Lions boss.

"His communication and leadership will be a help and his experience will help us. The two boys out of the squad and Harry Magurie, it's just unfortunate we can only name 23 and we've had to cover certain positions. I don't like having to leave players out of the squad at a major tournament.

"We're very focused on today's game and prepared tactically for the game. We know everyone around is is hugely excited and the players are as well. We have to focus on the performance and put the other noise aside us to one side."