We recognise that good international teams are not always built on a manager selecting all the best players.
So this isn’t a biased, impassioned rant about why Trent Alexander-Arnold is great and Gareth Southgate is terrible – although if you come to that conclusion on your own – be our guest!
There was uproar when Trent was dropped from Southgate’s latest England squad, and even more when a bizarre explanation was offered by the Three Lions boss, that described Trent as a young player who might fight his way back into contention…
Since 2018, Trent has been the best right-back on the planet and in 2020, was named in the FIFPro World XI.
He is not a young player hoping to make the grade, he’s the established real deal – who already has the two highest assisting seasons in Premier League history for a defender.
But since Trent made his debut in 2018, before the World Cup, he’s completed just FOUR full England games. And remember, he’s very rarely been injured and unavailable.
In total, he’s made 12 appearances, totalling a meagre 879 minutes.
To compare, Kieran Trippier has made 19 appearances in that time and Kyle Walker, despite losing his spot in the squad for a period, 18. Reece James is up to 225 minutes already – and will close the gap on Trent during the soon to start international break.
So it’s not that Southgate is dropping Trent for his recent form, it’s that he’s never fancied him in the first place. And clearly, he doesn’t consider his modern, passing style fullback appropriate for his England formation.
It’s weak management for someone in his position not to get the best out of a player so obviously more talented than the ones he’s competing with for minutes.