Gareth Southgate has defended his use of Trent Alexander-Arnold with England and admitted he’s attempting to find the best way to help the Liverpool man reach his full potential with the Three Lions.
The 23-year-old has struggled to replicate his club form when playing for his country but whilst praising the scouser, Southgate has explained how he’s attempting to help him reach the levels in an England shirt that saw him named in this season’s PFA Team of the Year.
“Trent’s a fantastic player, I don’t think anybody has ever heard me say differently. We could only really play him in one game this camp. He pulled out in March. He wasn’t fit for the Euros. Because he’s a great footballer, I tried him in midfield – there was some validity in looking at that,” the England boss said (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo).
“The way Liverpool play gets the best out of him and that’s to do with the pressing, it’s to do with the way they defend. They get him into those forward areas – that is what we tried to do with him from the wing-back position [against Hungary].
“But I have three amazing right backs. Kyle Walker is one of the best in the world, so is Reece James and so is Trent, they’re different profiles.
“So I’m always going to have those situations where people disagree with the selection. That noise over the last two, three years does seem to have been extremely loud, and I’ve had to ride that and get on with it. That’s what I’ve got to deal with. I’m sure the manager of Brazil has the same. I know the manager of France does, and he has won more than I have. So that’s the landscape.”
Alexander-Arnold played just over an hour in England’s 1-0 defeat to Hungary recently and was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with Germany in Munich.
He received huge backlash for not joining in with the national anthem prior to the clash in Budapest, especially with the game coming at a time when the nation was celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The Liverpool Academy graduate has now left the international squad in order to enjoy a much deserved rest after what has been a long season.
He was a vital member of the Reds side that played every single game possible this season as their quadruple hopes went right down to the wire – Trent played 47 times for Klopp’s side, registering two goals and 19 assists along the way.
The full-back’s defensive ability is often criticised, but it’s the threat that he causes going forward with his pin-point passing ability and his unbelievable crossing technique that ensures many people view him as one of the best players in the world in his position.
Klopp really has mastered his tactics to ensure we see the very best from our No. 66.
It would of course be good for Trent if he can carry his club form into his international games, but as long as he continues to perform for the Reds, we don’t really mind.