Rio Ferdinand has suggested that Trent Alexander-Arnold would have to play for Pep Guardiola to be moved to a midfield role, as reported by Football 365.
A debate erupted over the ideal position for the 22-year-old following an impressive display in Liverpool’s 0-0 draw against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
“Brilliant going forward but suddenly there’s been question marks about his defending. A real microscope on his performances these days,” the former Manchester United star told BT Sport.
“Dissecting it, taking it apart. Yes he has some parts of his game like defending that need to be improved. But what 21/22-year-old hasn’t? It’s normal.
“It’s because he’s under the microscope in big games. The kid is an immense talent. He has an ability to find passes that other people, other midfielders, other No.8s in the world, can’t find – let alone right-backs.
In response to Gary Lineker’s suggestion that the fullback could move back into midfield, a position he favoured as a youngster, Ferdinand responded that he’d need a different manager to engineer the switch.
“Yeah but he’ll need to play for Pep and that’s not going to happen… He’s got to stick where he is,” the ex-centre-half said. “I don’t think Klopp is going to change him. But what I do notice about this kid, he has character.”
Given that the Englishman had arguably one of his best games at right-back last night, we’re actually rather surprised that the pundits would suggest a positional change.
In the spirit of fairness, we can’t deny that Alexander-Arnold does possess certain qualities – for instance, the passing range – that would be well-suited to a midfield role, but he’s been one of the most exceptional players in his position for some time now.
Defensive concerns have admittedly popped up of late, though in a season where the side is hardly playing at its best, the No.66 has become a victim of his own lofty standards from recent seasons.