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Trent Alexander-Arnold provides England answer but Euro 2024 role still uncertain

Trent Alexander-Arnold provides England answer but Euro 2024 role still uncertain

Trent Alexander-Arnold is a shoe-in for the squad – but will he make the starting XI? (Image: PA)

Trent Alexander-Arnold made his England debut nearly six years ago today. Prince William gave him his first Three Lions jersey the day before an Elland Road friendly against Costa Rica.

For one of the most gifted players of his generation, the progress made since then on the global scene has been anything but regal. He has swept all before him at the club level, winning medals in the FIFA Club World Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the EFL Cup.

It is impossible to overestimate his impact on the Liverpool squad under Jurgen Klopp. Only 24 caps for England have been earned by Alexander-Arnold, who is four months away from turning 26.

Only two tournament games—both group stage contests held following England’s confirmed qualification for the knockout stages—have he played in. He has faced some unfavorable circumstances; one such instance is an injury that will prevent him from competing in the summer 2021 Euro finals.

Additionally, there was a lot of competition for right-back spots when he was only considered a right-back, and Gareth Southgate was obviously concerned about the defensive consistency of the Liverpool player. But this is Trent 2.0, a bit late. Trent is the midfield player available.

And he barely demonstrated enough in this mind-numbingly boring match to imply that he is a viable option for a starting spot in a Declan Rice-anchored midfield. Naturally, what drew attention was his passing range.

Naturally, there is a disclaimer whenever analyzing a match like this. There won’t be nearly as much intensity in this friendly against weaker opponents as there will be in every match at Euro 2024.

Furthermore, Alexander-Arnold was given the kind of breathing room that will be hard to come by in Germany. Even so, there were moments when his distribution range was impressive, as evidenced by the raking invitation he extended to Eberechi Eze and the cutting short ball he played to Cole Palmer, which set up one of England’s better first-half attacks.

In actuality, though, it was all a little cliched, and Alexander-Arnold was far from flawless—one thoughtless firing forced Marc Guehi to take a risk that resulted in a booking. Furthermore, rather than focusing on a quarter-backing role as he did in the first half of this match, Alexander-Arnold should have made his own infrequent forays forward.

He was slightly more proficient and more advanced for the first fifteen minutes of the second half. Though you would think Southgate is not a big fan of over-adventure, he was undoubtedly not overly adventurous.

In that sense, the England manager might not have been as disinterested as the rest of the crowd at St. James’ Park. Although Palmer and Eze attracted attention, this was primarily the supporting cast, and, realistically, of the starting lineup, only Jordan Pickford is sure to start Sunday against Serbia.

And a good number won’t make the cut when the final roster is revealed on Saturday. Although Alexander-Arnold’s corner kick deliveries were as expected excellent, he will still likely not start the opening game.

He didn’t appear particularly impressed by being moved to the right when Southgate made a number of changes following Palmer’s penalty. However, when Southgate decides on his starting lineup for the midfield, he ought to be a possibility.

Few other great football players will be able to split opinions like Alexander-Arnold does. However, one thing is certain: he is too talented to be a bit player. And that was amply demonstrated by the late showpiece volley that netted him his third goal for England.

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