Why Trent Alexander-Arnold is a weapon England cannot afford to waste

Why Trent Alexander-Arnold is a weapon England cannot afford to waste

Alexander-Arnold made assists for both Liverpool's goals in their win over Atletico Madrid - in 176 appearances for the Reds in the Premier League and Champions League, he has scored nine goals and made 48 assists

If anyone needs convincing that Trent Alexander-Arnold should be England’s first-choice right-back, his performance against Atletico Madrid is a good place to start.

I am not one of those who needs reminding of how good Trent is, but he still produces moments like his cross for Liverpool’s first goal in their win on Wednesday that just make you go ‘wow’.


That kind of quality is what makes him a very special player indeed – and for me he is the best of a very good bunch that England have in his position.

It’s a close call between him and Chelsea’s Reece James but, as good as James is going forward, he just does not have the same absolutely top-class delivery that Trent does. That’s what counts for me.

Of course the way Liverpool play helps Alexander-Arnold flourish – he basically played as a right-sided midfielder in the first half on Wednesday, he was that high up the pitch.

But people who say he could play in central midfield for England are missing the point. It’s a completely different role to the one he is so effective at for his club when he links up with Mohamed Salah down the right.

With Liverpool, he is always coming on to the ball from a deeper position. It was the same for both the goals he made against Atletico – from there, he sees the big picture all the time.

If he is in midfield instead, then he is playing on the half-turn a lot of the time when he collects the ball and it’s harder to have the same idea of what’s happening in front of him.

I don’t think that using him as a midfielder is an experiment worth repeating by Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday, but there are still ways of getting him into an England team that uses a different system to Liverpool.

Gareth Southgate sometimes plays with wing-backs, and I can only see Alexander-Arnold flourishing there, coming at teams from deep.

It probably won’t make much difference to England who plays right-back in their next two World Cup qualifiers, against Albania and San Marino in the next 11 days. They will win anyway.

But in the tighter games against better opposition, Trent is a weapon that should not be wasted. He can make the difference with those brilliant runs and crosses that so few other players can produce.

He is so quick and his ability on the ball is as good as it gets, so I am not surprised he has so many assists for Liverpool – England should really be making the most of his talent to make goals too.

It’s not just about the noise

Liverpool made it look very easy against Atletico on Wednesday but that was down to a very good all-round team performance. As happens so often at Anfield, the crowd played a big part too.

You could argue that by now you almost expect a fantastic atmosphere on occasions like this, but it is the way the crowd behaves that is so important, not just the fact they are noisy.

I’ve seen it so many times before – Wednesday was not just a European night, it was a European night where the crowd think they are up against a really good side and it could be tight.

So there is that tension in the air, which I think the top players love because it is another signal that a game is a little bit special, and different from the norm.

You saw them all respond to that against Atletico, not just Alexander-Arnold – I could go through the whole team and they all impressed me.

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