Gary Neville pinpoints how Kieran Trippier will have made Trent Alexander-Arnold a better defender

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Gary Neville has suggested that Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold’s overall game – in particular, his defensive capabilities – will ultimately benefit from his experience at the World Cup.

The Scouse fullback found himself overlooked by Gareth Southgate for much of England’s tournament, earning only a cameo appearance against Wales in the group stages whilst Kieran Trippier was favoured ahead of the 24-year-old in the pecking order.

“Look, I think Kieran Trippier is a really good fullback but I think Trent Alexander-Arnold watching Kieran Trippier be selected in front of him in a World Cup game will have hit home,” the ex-England international told Sky Sports.

“People will say ‘is that Gareth Southgate because he’s more pragmatic?’ I think generally if a team’s not got as much possession, if a team’s not in as good form, like Liverpool maybe haven’t been in parts of this season, it will be highlighted more, your defensive mistakes.

“And that will happen during his career when he’ll be playing for Liverpool or England when they’re not in as dominant form.

“He’s going to be expected to defend better and I think it’s about being more serious about your defending and tonight [against Leicester City] you’ve seen him there getting low and looking bright in his work and footwork.”

Much of the criticism around the Reds’ No.66 has revolved around his defensive contributions in 2022/23 with Jurgen Klopp’s men struggling for defensive solidity.

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Though luck certainly figured into the Merseysiders’ win over former boss Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes outfit, Alexander-Arnold needed none of it to produce a dominant defensive display at Anfield.

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Whilst we can certainly appreciate that our first-choice right-back’s standard dropped somewhat in the opening section of the campaign  (something the player himself has alluded to), we do feel that a considerable proportion of the critique has been over the top.

Given Southgate’s decision to back players currently out of form for their clubs – Raheem Sterling being a prime example – it made little sense as to why Trippier was favoured over Trent at times.

It has to be said that both Kyle Walker and the Newcastle man are phenomenal players in their own right, though it’s hard to argue that the overall package presented by our Academy graduate, as a fullback who has redefined his position, isn’t more exciting than his competition at a national level.

There will be work for the West Derby-born footballer to reestablish himself as the leading fullback in English football (as far as commentators beyond the borders of Merseyside are concerned, at least) and, potentially, get himself in Southgate’s good books ahead of the Euros.

Given how little of an impact his prior achievements seemed to have on the Three Lions boss’ decision-making, however, there’s an element of concern that, no matter what Trent Alexander-Arnold does at a domestic level, he’ll never be allowed to squeeze in ahead of the coach’s favourites.

Only time will tell on that front now that the former Middlesbrough head coach has confirmed he will lead England’s Euro 2024 campaign.

You can watch the full clip below, courtesy of @SkySportsPL:

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