It is unusual for a right-back to be the playmaker of their side. Yet for a 21-year-old from West Derby, a suburb just east of Liverpool, he has the potential to do just that. Trent Alexander-Arnold has seen his game reach new heights under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, but for England, there is a case for him to be played in a new position.
The Case for Trent Alexander-Arnold to Be Played in Midfield For England
Potential Midfield Sensation
It is not a position that is entirely unnatural to Alexander-Arnold, having played there during his time in Liverpool’s academy. With his superb eye for a pass, perfectly curled crosses and tackles timed to perfection, it is no wonder that he has been tipped as a potential future defensive midfielder.
Liverpool’s style of play under Jurgen Klopp his aided to help his attacking capabilities. During their recent 3-2 win over West Ham, the 21-year-old spent most of the game tucked just inside the opposition half, making 88 passes in the process. For comparison, January’s narrow 1-0 away win saw him occupy a slightly deeper position, only just inside of his half.
Stats aren’t always reflective of a player’s qualities, but that is not the case for Alexander-Arnold. Last season saw a total of 15 assists registered in all competitions, just under two key passes made per game and completing two tackles per game.
Few players could have statistics such as that, but the Liverpool right-back is well on his way to. He already has 13 assists for this season. 12 of which have come in the Premier League, where he is helping destruct every opponent in Liverpool’s path. Furthermore, he is making almost three key passes on average in the Premier League, while it is just under two per game in the Champions League. He is still completing two tackles per game, paying testament to his qualities at both ends of the pitch.
Creativity From Deep in Midfield Is What England Need and What Trent Alexander-Arnold Can Provide
There are very few who can spot that decisive pass quite like Trent Alexander-Arnold in the England set-up.
Defensive midfield is a problematic area for Gareth Southgate. There is a plethora of options, but none who can do everything that Alexander-Arnold can. Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson excels at breaking up play, protecting the defence and doing the dirty work in midfield, but can struggle at playing the ball forward. Declan Rice also comes into this bracket, although his England place might be in jeopardy due to West Ham‘s struggles. Harry Winks can spot the decisive pass through the lines, but his small stature means he can get overrun.
As a result, Alexander-Arnold has to be tested in defensive midfield for England in the upcoming friendlies. His all-round technique qualifies him for the role; those who are likely to play further forward would relish having his qualities more centrally.
Moving him into the middle would also relinquish the right-back spot; there is already a crowded field vying for it. Kyle Walker, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Kieran Trippier and Reece James are all hoping that they can make the England squad for this summer’s tournament.
In a side where a deep-lying playmaker is lacking, there could already be one in waiting.