England boss Gareth Southgate said he deployed Kieran Trippier at left-back against Croatia because of his tournament experience.
Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell was thought to be competing with Luke Shaw of Manchester United for a place in the side.
But Southgate caused a surprise by opting for Trippier for the game at Wembley, where England opened their European Championship campaign with a 1-0 win.
Former Tottenham man Trippier has played at left-back before, including for England, but is still very much regarded as primarily a right-back.
“With Kieran, we feel he is a very experienced player, he did well against one player to stop crosses coming in,” Southgate told the BBC before the match, referring to Trippier’s displays in the warm-up games.
“His communication and leadership I think will be a help. We have got changes in the backline and I think his experience will help us with the two boys who are out of the squad, including Harry Maguire.”
Chilwell was one of three players to miss out on even a place on the bench.
Southgate said: “It’s just unfortunate we can only name 23 but we have to cover the positions. I don’t like that we have to leave boys out of the squad for a major competition, it’s not fair on them.”