Trent Alexander-Arnold: England’s Midfield Ace in the Making?
Henry Winter of The Times recently penned a compelling argument surrounding Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold’s positional future with the England national team. As Euro 2024 draws closer, the debate around the right-back turned midfielder’s role in Gareth Southgate’s side is growing louder.
The key question is: can England afford to leave their best passer on the bench, or should he feature more prominently in Southgate’s midfield plans?
Arnold’s Evolution in Midfield
Winter rightly highlights that of all the issues Southgate faces ahead of Euro 2024, Alexander-Arnold’s positional deployment is perhaps the most significant. Southgate’s decision could be the defining factor in his reign. Known for his exemplary performances in an inverted full-back role at Liverpool, Alexander-Arnold’s ability to pick out visionary passes and his strong defensive capabilities could serve England well in the midfield.
England’s manager himself noted, “He’s one that will look forward early and will play passes in behind defences where others maybe don’t have that view first.” The idea of a balanced midfield trio featuring Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Alexander-Arnold seems appealing, bringing together a potent mix of defensive solidity, youthful dynamism and creativity.
Who Makes Way for Trent?
However, Southgate’s midfield already teems with talent. The likes of James Maddison boast immense passing abilities, making the competition for a midfield spot fierce. As Winter comments, the situation becomes further complicated with John Stones’ adeptness in stepping into midfield from the defensive line, a skill that has recently flourished at Manchester City.
Southgate recognises this wealth of ability, and Winter’s assessment seems to concur. He remarks, “We need to get as many of our best players on the pitch as possible.” This statement only adds fuel to the fire of speculation about where Alexander-Arnold might fit into this jigsaw puzzle of talent.
In Winter’s original piece, he also discusses the current form and predicaments of Raheem Sterling and Harry Maguire, which may influence Southgate’s squad selection. Sterling’s current form for Chelsea, for example, is under scrutiny, while Maguire’s peripheral role at Manchester United presents another issue. Might these uncertainties open up further opportunities for Alexander-Arnold in the starting lineup?
To summarise, Winter’s article places a necessary spotlight on the intriguing question of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s role within the England setup. Whether the Liverpool star should operate from the right side of defence or command the midfield is a debate that is sure to continue in the lead-up to Euro 2024.
Perhaps Southgate’s own words provide the best conclusion: “He’s a bloody good footballer and you’d like to find a way of it working because of his talents.” Only time will tell whether England’s manager chooses to unleash Alexander-Arnold’s full potential in the midfield and if that decision will pay off on the European stage.