|Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold doesn’t seem part of Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. AFP Photo|
Trent Alexander-Arnold hasn’t been anywhere near his brilliant best this season for Liverpool.
But if England manager Gareth Southgate decides not to pick the 23-year-old for the World Cup in Qatar, then he’s clearly bonkers.
In the two recent Nations League matches, Alexander-Arnold was an unused substitute against Italy, which England lost, and never even made the bench for the 3-3 draw against Germany.
Southgate clearly doesn’t fancy TAA and has even stated that Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier is ahead of him in the pecking order.
Throw Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Chelsea’s Reece James into the mix and Trent becomes fourth choice right-back for England.
It’s probably fair to say that from a defensive point-of-view, TAA does need to improve. But going forwards, there isn’t a full-back on the planet that comes near him.
Sadly, Southgate’s cautious brand of football is a million miles away from what Jurgen Klopp plays at Liverpool, so it looks like Trent’s World Cup dream is very much in doubt.
So who is to blame in all this mess? Is it the young Liverpool player for not being able to adapt and improve his style of play to suit the England team?
Or is it the manager for failing on an epic scale to get the best out of Trent’s dynamic, attacking skills?
Sorry Gareth, I blame you.
After taking England to a World Cup semi-final in 2018, then a Euro final in 2020, Southgate has since led the national team on an appalling run of results.
Yet he still seems set in his ways not to change his rigid formation, and I’m sorry to say, this is exactly the reason England won’t come anywhere near winning the World Cup.
Good managers can adapt, change styles to suit, and bring the best out players, but not Gareth.
TAA is worthy not only of a place in the squad, but the starting eleven. His immaculate distribution would have provided multiple chances for Harry Kane but without him, England will suffer.
I might be wrong, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been wrong before, but I think England may even struggle to get out of the group stages in Qatar.
That’s not solely down to the probable omission of Alexander-Arnold, but largely due to the fact England are just not good enough.
Reaching the final of the Euros was a great achievement, but in the year since then, England have gone backwards at an alarming rate.
The World Cup may well have a different feel to it this time around, with the event taking place in the middle of domestic seasons, but I fear unless the manager changes his ways, it will be the same old England. VNS