Liverpool’s talismanic full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has struggled for game-time under England manager Gareth Southgate, but it could be a blessing in disguise.
That is according to transfer insider Dean Jones, who has claimed that the doubts surrounding the 23-year-old’s place in his country’s World Cup squad could benefit him in the long-run.
What’s the word?
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the journalist said: “It just seems that Trent isn’t going to quite fit with what Southgate wants.
“It might be a blessing in disguise for him. If England flop and everyone’s saying we lacked creativity and we were crying out for someone like Trent, then it might work in his favour long-term.
“But, obviously, it’d be a massive disappointment for him if he’s not even under consideration for that squad.”
Trent’s tough time
Despite averaging an impressive 10.43 ball recoveries per game, Alexander-Arnold has unfortunately garnered a widespread reputation as a defender who cannot defend – so much so that former Chelsea defender and France international Frank Leboeuf said: “Defensively, he’s Championship level”.
His lack of game-time under Southgate is bound to annoy a player who could single handedly fix the creative issues in the England squad, whether that’s from full-back or central midfield, with the latter being his best bet in our view.
In Jurgen Klopp’s system across the possession phase, he essentially acts as an additional central midfielder to help create attacking overloads, so it’s a role which would in no way feel alien to him.
It is such a waste of talent to hold back a player who topped the chance creation charts last season, with a whopping 90 chances created at an average of 2.8 per game.
His two goals and 12 assists from full-back in the 2021/22 Premier League speak for his ability in possession, and his current snub from Southgate – who is in favour of playing more conservative options – is bound to leave a sour taste in the 23-year-old’s mouth when it comes to thoughts of international duty.
That said, Jones does have a point in saying that Alexander-Arnold might be paradoxically better off if he is not brought to Qatar and his nation have a disappointing World Cup.
The takeaway is this – if Southgate truly believes that the Liverpool man’s defensive standards will affect the balance of the team, then there are other ways to integrate such a creative and well-rounded threat.