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Trent Alexander-Arnold: Can the 19 year old make it to the England squad?

By Prashanth Kumar Purshotam
Trent Alexander-Arnold

Bengaluru, April 18: Gareth Southgate might be in a tight spot when it comes to picking the squad before May 14 for the 2018 Russia World Cup, especially regarding right back position.

Though he is well stocked in that position with Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker, he may be thinking about adding Trent Alexander-Arnold to his squad.

Under normal circumstances, the Liverpool right back would not have had a chance. However, considering Southgate is using a new system with three at the back, where Walker is on the right side, he might need a backup for the right wing back position. Injury to Joe Gomez has also added to Alexander-Arnold becoming a serious contender.

Pundits like Alan Shearer believe that he will play for England and a lack of experience is certainly compensated with talent.

Alexander-Arnold had joined Liverpool’s academy at the age of 6, he was spotted by academy coach Ian Barrigan and went on to captain the club at the Under-16 and U-18 levels.

He had made his official debut on October 25, 2016, in the fourth round of EFL Cup with a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur despite the presence of the first choice for right back Nathaniel Clyne. He also earned his spot for the EFL Cup team for that round.

He made his Premier League debut as a late substitute in 3-0 win over Middlesbrough after coming on for the striker Divock Origi and made his first league start in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United on January 15, 2017. He was also named as the Liverpool’s young player of the Year.

At the start of this season he signed a long time contract with the club and has since become a reliable right back for the Reds’. Considering his favoured position is in the midfield, it shows the level of self-belief and character possessed by the Scouser to play out of position and make it his own.

On his European debut, he scored his first goal from a free kick in 2-1 win over Hoffenheim and he became the third youngest Liverpool player to score a goal in his debut match in UEFA Champions League. He was also the youngest English player to play UCL quarter-final and in the two legs of that quarterfinal, he had shown his capability as right back after nullifying almost all the attacks from City winger Sane.

This is one of the reasons why top pundits are urging Southgate to take a look at him. Their argument being the magnanimity of the occasion the kind of players he faced didn’t get to him. What made his display even more commendable was that Manchester City were targeting him as a weak link.

Southgate had called him to train with the English players during the recent friendlies. However, presenting him with his first English cap during the World Cup would require more gutsy performances from now to the end of the season.

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Story first published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 12:46 [IST]
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