Trent Alexander-Arnold ticked off another childhood ambition on Thursday as he made his competitive debut for England.
The Liverpool star was one of eight team changes made by manager Gareth Southgate as his side fell to a 1-0 defeat against Belgium in their final Group G game.
Lining up as England’s right-wing back, the 19-year-old impressed with an assured defensive performance as well as displaying the attacking ambition that proved so effective on Merseyside last season.
His place in the team meant he became just the fourth teenager to feature in the starting lineup of a World Cup match for England.
4 – Trent Alexander-Arnold (19 years, 264 days), is only the fourth teenager to start a World Cup match for England, after Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling and Michael Owen. Youth. #ENG#ENGBEL#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/aPLVcaEdZp
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 28, 2018
Confirmation of qualification to the knockout stages for both sides made for a contest lacking any sustained intensity or aggression.
In that respect, it proved an ideal game for Alexander-Arnold to play with the fearlessness and ambition he has all season under Jurgen Klopp.
For Southgate to hand him the responsibility as set-piece taker is testament to not only the impression he has made at Anfield, but also how much he has impressed in training.
The opportunity marked a thoroughly deserved reward for an undisputed breakthrough season as a future Liverpool and England starter.