Trent Alexander-Arnold, a defender for Liverpool, traveled with the England team for their UEFA Nations League matches against Italy and Germany but did not participate in either match
Another week, another mystery surrounding England’s employment of Trent Alexander-Arnold for Jurgen Klopp.
The Liverpool right-back has played every single one of the Reds’ 38 league games during the team’s championship-winning campaign in 2019–20, starting three Champions League finals, and has been a standout during their dramatic title clashes with Manchester City. On a global scale, however, it’s a different story.
Only 17 England appearances have been made by Alexander-Arnold, and only one of those came this past year against Hungary in the UEFA Nations League. The 23-year-old will undoubtedly be grateful to return to Anfield where he knows he has a starting position after failing to enter the field in either of the last two games for Gareth Southgate’s World Cup aspirations.
According to England manager Southgate, “we selected the squad for the match against Germany because of the way we proceeded with the team, so we needed [Ben] Chilwell on the bench and we had Kieran who, at the moment, I feel his all-around game is ahead [of Alexander-Arnold].” While Reece James started at the San Siro when England lost to Italy on Sunday, Trippier started at Wembley.
Alexander-Arnold is Southgate’s fourth choice among England’s right-backs when taking into account Kyle Walker’s participation in both games, although as the right of three center-backs. He was in the 26 for the Euros before getting hurt, so that might still be enough to get him on the aircraft to Qatar, but it is a far cry from his position at Anfield.
Since he has used players from the academy in every game this season, Klopp is anticipated to start Liverpool’s No. 66 this weekend against Brighton. And based on the German’s remarks from a year ago, he and Southgate are strongly at differences over the Three Lions’ deployment of Alexander-Arnold.
Trippier is certainly no slouch; he won the La Liga with Atletico Madrid before moving on to his current club, Newcastle United, and Walker has been a crucial part of City’s recent success. James has won the Champions League for Chelsea.
However, Alexander-Arnold is perhaps the finest in the world at what he does for Liverpool and is not only regarded as England’s best right-back.
I make decisions regarding team and squad selections every day, every weekend, and every midweek because I am a manager myself, Klopp said. We frequently make choices that are difficult for others to comprehend.
“I accept that Gareth takes his own judgments, of course, but I didn’t get it because Trent Alexander-Arnold was the best right-back in the world football for at least the previous two seasons, or, let’s say, the season before and the season before that.
“That is the reality, and at such a young age. I don’t mind if my players receive some criticism. The truth is that they can obtain it from either me or another person. He was the best right back in football history.”
Alexander-Arnold may be too late to climb up Southgate’s priority list as he faces up against a free-scoring Brighton team on Saturday. After all, if the manager is still not convinced after the past few years, a few weeks’ worth of performance is not going to make a significant difference when choosing players for Qatar.
Nonetheless, Liverpool may benefit from England’s loss. There are worse times for a player to obtain time off at the international level because most of the Premier League’s top players’ busy schedules are likely to take a toll on them.