Liverpool youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold caught the attention of coaches and fans yesterday with his stand-out performance in the U23s’ 3-0 win against Sunderland.
Alexander-Arnold stole the spotlight from two-goal Danny Ings on the day with a display of both attacking prowess and defensive discipline.
The youngster chipped in with a goal himself from right-back and proved to be a constant threat all afternoon.
U23s boss Michael Beale praised his star player for his part in the team’s win and is now backing him to replicate those performance levels across a run of games.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “Speed, aggression, strength; he had it all. But I just want him to knock out 10 performances. He’s had two or three, let’s see if he can knock out 10 and go from there.”
Beale was also pleased with the way the 17-year-old dealt with the defensive duties his manager had purposely set him up for.
He added: “I thought Sunderland would be a test for him because (George) Honeyman is one of the best wingers in the U23 league. He’s played in Sunderland’s first team, he’s a good player and I thought Trent would have more of a defensive role.”
“He won that battle convincingly really, and when he went forward he was threatening every time.”
The teenager’s progress since earning a place on the first team bench against Arsenal last month has also impressed his youth team boss.
“The confidence of training with the first team on a regular basis, you can see the development he has made. Training at Melwood every day with top players, you can iron out mistakes and go to another level.”
Backup for the fullback areas is in short supply as far as the first team is concerned, but Alexander-Arnold is on his way towards proving he is capable of filling that void.
The ability to bring the defender in as cover at fullback for cup competitions could prove vital in the long term when it comes to protecting Nathaniel Clyne- who has been excellent so far this campaign.
He also finds himself on the radar of a manager such as Jurgen Klopp who will always give his young players a chance to show what they can do.
The early signs suggest that Alexander-Arnold has the qualities to eventually bolster the first team’s strength in depth even more.