Stan Collymore has claimed that Trent Alexander-Arnold is ‘too good to ignore’ but admits he’s unsure as to whether the Liverpool star will be included in Gareth Southgate’s plans for the impending World Cup.
The 23-year-old was selected by the England boss for the recent clashes with Italy and Germany but didn’t play a single minute in either of the Nations League clashes.
Southgate has spoken about the situation surrounding the Liverpool full back recently and it’s now unclear whether the scouser will be a part of the Three Lions squad heading to Qatar in November.
Ex-Red Collymore has weighed in on the situation and whilst he understands aspects of the England manager’s thinking, he’s urged the scouser to continue working hard and to wait for his chance.
“When you get called up to your national team, it is still the peak,” the ex-Red wrote in his column for Caught Offside. “I know some people would argue that the Champions League is the more prestigious competition, but given the fact they only come around once every four years, World Cups, for me, are still the pinnacle.
“However, one player who has come close but has failed to progress internationally has been Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“Throughout my career, I played with Gareth Southgate twice, once in Crystal Palace’s youth setup, and again at Aston Villa where he was my skipper, and I can tell you for certain that he likes round pegged players for round holes.
“When it comes to full-backs, Southgate’s first priority is defending and then attacking and unfortunately for Alexander-Arnold, as we all know, his game is very much the opposite of that.
“Alexander-Arnold is going to give his manager a whole host of offensive and creative options, but the biggest concern with him is his ability when going back towards his own goal, and that has been the case for him while playing in a very good Liverpool team, so you can perhaps understand Southgate’s caution.
“I think in Southgate’s mind, he is worried that the likes of John Stones and Maguire, who aren’t exactly in the form of their lives, would come under more defensive pressure if Alexander-Arnold were on the right side of the backline.
“However, my advice to Alexander-Arnold would be to keep going. Keep turning up whenever called upon and wait for your chance – because it will come.
“Yes, it is very unlikely he is going to play in this winter’s Qatar World Cup, but he can’t throw the towel in. He’s only 23 years old, so even after this year’s tournament, he will still have at least two more World Cups ahead of him.
“Whether it is Southgate that gives him that chance or another manager, he will get it and when he gets it, I hope he grabs it with both hands because he is just too good to ignore.”
Due to his unbelievable consistency in recent seasons, Alexander-Arnold has become recognised as one of the world’s best right backs.
Southgate did experiment by playing the Reds star in midfield during an international game last year which came much to the bemusement of Jurgen Klopp.
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Trent certainly has the ability to play in midfield but with him performing so well in recent seasons there’s been no need to consider a change of position for the 23-year-old.
He has of course started the campaign slowly, as have many of his Liverpool teammates, but there’s no need to overreact.
His defensive ability has always been questioned since he burst onto the scene in 2016 but he earned his reputation for his world class crossing and passing ability and the work that he does for the team going forward.
Southgate appears to rate Chelsea’s Reece James, Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier ahead of Alexander-Arnold so he therefore faces a real challenge to be named in the squad for Qatar.
Although it would be disappointing to see Trent left out of the England squad, it would reduce the risk of him acquiring a injury and means he’d be in great shape to attack the second half of our season when the Premier League resumes on Boxing Day.