Micah Richards has explained that Trent Alexander-Arnold is due to start for England at the World Cup later this month.
The Liverpool defender has received significant criticism this season for some of his performances for his club, but with injuries to Kyle Walker and Reece James, the Reds’ number 66 is now expected to be on the plane to Qatar.
Gareth Southgate will name his squad heading into the tournament on Thursday and although the Scouser did not play a single minute during England’s Nations League clashes with Germany and Italy in September, Richards has explained why the 24-year-old ” has to play’.
“Trent is my favourite, I love him,” he told the Mirror (via the Liverpool Echo). “Obviously he’s had a tough time at Liverpool, but what he has going forward is ridiculous. I played right back, and what these guys are doing in that position now is just amazing. Gone are the days when full-backs would try to keep things tight defensively and then push forward when they could.
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“They start in forward positions now and are expected to create chances as wingers. Trent not only has to go, he has to play. International football is slower than the Premier League so I think that will help him defensively. England don’t press like Liverpool. They drop and get in shape, so that would really suit Trent. It’s not great to go to a tournament with so many injuries.
“I just hope we don’t play three at the back because when England play that system they always push us back and it becomes five at the back. Gareth also likes two defensive midfielders, so he would give us seven defensive players. I really don’t think we can win the World Cup playing like this.”
At the moment, Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier is the only other senior right-back Southgate can turn to, although it remains unclear whether Walker and James will be recovered in time for the tournament which begins on November 20.
Alexander-Arnold has certainly redefined the fullback position in recent seasons, but his defensive prowess has been called into question at times.
However, his attacking ability shines and he can create endless opportunities for the attacking players in front of him if given the chance.
The Liverpool Academy graduate is also a set-piece specialist and has scored several impressive free-kicks for the FA Cup champions in recent seasons.
After decent showings at the 2018 World Cup and finishing as runners-up at the 2020 European Championship, hopes are high that the Three Lions can once again inspire the nation.
We certainly think Trent should be on the plane to Qatar, but we’ll have to wait and see what decision Southgate makes.
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