UNDER PRESSURE: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has fallen down the pecking order for England and could miss out on the Euros. AFP Photo
From zero to hero, then back to zero. It’s been one hell of a few weeks for Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
After he was left out of the England squad for the international fixtures, eyebrows were raised on an astronomical scale. You’re talking Roger Moore eyebrow-raising levels.
His club manager Jurgen Klopp had his say, telling the media the decision by England's Gareth Southgate left him baffled, to say the least.
Pundits went into overdrive, and Trent seemed to be trending more than vaccines and COVID put together.
As for the player himself, he reacted in the best way possible by keeping his mouth shut and letting his football do the talking, putting in a top-notch performance against Arsenal.
All was well, it would seem. Internet warriors took to their keyboards to claim Southgate had got it wrong, and Trent was a shoo-in for the Euros.
But then the youngster went from hero to sub-zero, all in the blink of an eye.
In Liverpool’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid, the fullback was found wanting. A poor performance, and a clear mistake, meant his place in the England squad is once again under serious threat.
Last season, Trent was off the charts good. He created more goals than any other player in the Premier League and was considered by many the best right-back in the country. Damn it, the world even.
But after Liverpool lost their colossal central defence partnership of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, Trent has had to be far less gung-ho in his forward play and this has seen cracks emerge.
There is one thing though I think people are forgetting. An element not factored into the whole equation, and that’s this. He is still only 22 years old.
England's defensive system is very different to Liverpool’s. And maybe Trent isn’t the right man for the fullback position.
But at his tender age, there will still be bucketloads of opportunities in the future, and there is no doubt he will play for his country at a major tournament, but I’m going to make a bold prediction here, it won’t be in his current position.
For me, I think in the coming years you will see Trent gradually move forward in the Liverpool line-up and eventually become a right-sided, or attacking central midfielder.
His passing and crossing ability has been compared to David Beckham's and he can hit a dead ball as sweet as a nut. I see Trent’s future in midfield, not defence.
Don’t forget a young Steven Gerrard before he became a regular in the Liverpool midfield played at fullback for the youth teams and I can see Trent’s career following a similar path.
He is an amazing talent but if I was him, and I’m obviously not, I really wouldn’t be too worried about not making the England squad on this occasion. Plenty more opportunities will come knocking soon enough. VNS