‘It’s like playing with shackles on’ – Alexander-Arnold explains how he’s redefined the fullback position amid recent criticism

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Trent Alexander-Arnold has explained how he likes to ‘play the game’ rather than ‘play the position’ when operating at right-back for Liverpool.

The 24-year-old has become recognised as one of the best fullbacks in the world in recent seasons with his insane number of assists and world-class passing ability, but the way in which the Academy graduate has started the campaign has led to many questioning his defensive ability.

Our No. 66, who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury sustained in the recent defeat at Arsenal, has discussed how he views his position on the pitch.

“I never like to play the position, I play the game,” he told GQ Magazine (via All Football App).

“You play the position, it limits you. It’s like playing with shackles on.

“I’ve always thought that with a sensible mind, play the game, get in positions that will hurt the opposition, and at the same time do the defensive work you need to do.

“It’s more: Play the game how it needs to be played.”

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It’s clear that the boyhood Liverpool fan hasn’t quite been himself so far this campaign and, like many of his teammates, he’s struggled to reach the levels of last season.

The England international is yet to register a single assist this term but has three goals in 12 outings for the Reds (across all competitions).

His attacking ability is what has always set him apart from others in his position but with the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, Alexander-Arnold’s position in Gareth Southgate’s squad appears to be under threat.

Reece James, who has often been selected ahead of the Liverpool man, sustained a knee injury in Chelsea’s defeat of AC Milan recently and is awaiting the results of a scan to determine the seriousness of the knock.

With many football fans unhappy with the decision to stage the next World Cup in Qatar – a country with a poor human rights record – there is also unease at FIFA’s ideas of staging the tournament every two years rather than four.

This is something that Alexander-Arnold admits he’s against when asked about the idea.

“No, it just becomes a bit too familiar. And it loses that special World Cup feeling,” he added.

“Team wouldn’t change, and things wouldn’t really change that much.

“Whereas every four years, you’re looking at a whole new evolution of the team. It’s just a lot of time for things to happen, and it gives young players more of a chance to be able to make it.”

Let’s hope the lad who has won every major trophy possible at Anfield returns to fitness sooner rather than later and is named in the Three Lions squad that will be heading to Qatar next month.

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