The Jewel in England’s Crown?
The future is bright for England. The likes of Harry Kane, Jordan Pickford, Raheem Sterling and Harry Maguire provide an experienced spine for the team while younger players like Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho provide the youthful exuberance. Having said all that, the one player who has the ability to be the best in the world in his position is Liverpool’s Alexander Trent-Arnold.
It’s worth noting that throughout the first decade of the nineties when the England side was jam-packed with superstars like Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand, it was another full-back, Ashley Cole, who was often singled out as being at worst the one world-class player in the side, at best the single player who could claim to be the top player in the world in his role.
Whisper it quietly but Trent-Arnold can be even better than the former Arsenal and Chelsea man ever was, on the opposite flank. Cole was admittedly quicker but that might just be the only area where he had an edge on the Liverpool youngster. The latter gets forward more, scores more goals, provides more assists from open play and is deadly from set-pieces, all of this without compromising when it comes to his day job of defending.
Add in the fact that he clearly has something instinctive in him that allows him to see things other players don’t- witness his quick-thinking and clever execution with that corner against Barcelona in last year’s Champions League semi-final at Anfield – and you can begin to see what all the fuss is about.
The Wonderkid who just gets Better
His progress shouldn’t come as any big surprise. He’s been at Liverpool since he was a six-year-old, moving up the ranks effortlessly and often being the team captain, eventually breaking into the senior side at just 17. He was singled out for praise by Steven Gerrard, no less, tipping Trent-Arnold to become a big hit in the future in his 2015 autobiography.
He’s played for England at every age level from the U16s onwards, which included playing at the 2015 U17 World Cup in Chile. He has a remarkable goalscoring record at U19 level by the way, scoring seven times in just 10 appearances. The icing on the cake though are his six appearances for the senior side before his 21st birthday. Against the USA in November 2018, he became the youngest Liverpool player to score for England since Michael Owen, at just 20 and 39 days.
England Prospects and the Future
If his place in Liverpool’s starting line-up is guaranteed, it’s not quite the same story at international level. There’s particularly strong competition for the right-back spot at the moment with Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and the much rawer Aaron Wan-Bissaka all providing the manager with good options in their own way. But Walker’s best days are probably behind him, Trippier has been out of favour with Gareth Southgate of late while the new Manchester United recruit is way behind Trent-Arnold in terms of his progress. If a major tournament started tomorrow, it would probably be the Liverpool man getting the nod at right-back.
As for a possible future away from Anfield, the word is he wants to be there for life. That said, the one-club men like the Gerrards and Jamie Carraghers are very rare beasts these days and whereas he may decide that the likes of Manchester City or Manchester United don’t offer anything better than what he has at Anfield, it may be a little different if a Barcelona or Juventus come calling at some stage. He wouldn’t be the first English footballer to feel he needed to move abroad to become the complete player. Think Gareth Bale, Gary Lineker or use to a defender as a more relevant example, Des Walker all those years ago.
For the time being he’s very much a Liverpool player and a crucial one, particularly going forward. Last season he provided 13 assists in the Premier League alone. This season he has one already, after providing a pin-point cross for Divock Origi to score from in the season opener against Norwich. Check the football spread betting markets to see how he might fare in the goalscoring department.
But Liverpool must avoid the temptation of trying to convert him into a midfielder. Yes, he has the physical and technical attributes to play as a perfectly good number eight but why fix something that isn’t broken? He has enough influence as it is on the game from right-back and would be virtually irreplaceable there with all he brings to the role. Besides, why try to become an international class midfielder when you can very easily become the best right-back in the world?