Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Alexander-Arnold says Neco Williams competition will prevent complacency

Neco Williams’ incredible Liverpool rise continues and his teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold considers the Wales international a role model for the next generational talents at the club to aspire towards.

Williams, 19, has enjoyed a stellar few weeks for both club and country after the teenager recently capped off his international home debut with a stunning injury-time winner during a 1-0 Nations League victory for Wales against Bulgaria last week.

He was also recently included on the 40-player shortlist for the 2020 Golden Boy award.

It followed what had been an impressive pre-season campaign for Williams who was part of the club’s pre-season tour of Austria and also covered in the absence of Alexander-Arnold during Liverpool’s Community Shield clash with Arsenal at Wembley.

Alexander-Arnold was delighted for his fellow full-back and Liverpool academy graduate who is thriving in his new-found role with the first team and he expects the Welshman to kick on this season.

“Neco is an amazing talent, he is someone who we all look to as being someone who can play for the club for a long amount of time and will have a bright future no matter what,” Alexander-Arnold told the club’s official website.

“I think he is on the right path, for sure. Mentally, he’s ahead of people his age, he’s getting the right experience in training; playing against the best players in the world can only improve you.

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“So, all the young players at the club will be looking up to people like Neco and trying to push to be in that position to be up at Melwood and training with the first team all the time.

“He showed at the back end of last season he’s good enough to be given the chance and hopefully he’ll be able to kick on.”

Liverpool’s Welsh midfileder Neco Williams (L) vies for the ball against Arsenal’s English midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles (R) during the English FA Community Shield football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 29, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Important role

Williams has an important role under Jurgen Klopp this season, with the young defender Liverpool’s best option as cover at right-back.

Liverpool’s ability to develop and harness talent from the academy has in-effect saved the club millions in the transfer market.

Both Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne recently departed the Reds creating a need for sufficient replacements in key areas.

Instead of being forced to look to the transfer market for viable options, the club already had like-for-like alternatives ready-made from the academy in the form of Curtis Jones and Williams.

The Liverpool duo are the latest example of a growing number of success stories who have taken that big leap from the academy to the first team under the guidance of Vitor Matos and Alex Inglethorpe.

It also creates some healthy competition between two young aspiring full-backs who will both have ambitions of holding down a place in Klopp’s starting XI for years to come.

Williams’ recent development has naturally warranted some added pressure for Alexander-Arnold to consistently perform as the West Derby defender will be aware that Klopp will have a top-class option if one of his right-backs isn’t pulling their weight.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Helder Costa of Leeds United runs with the ball under pressure from Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images)

Alexander-Arnold was reinstated back into the team during Liverpool’s 4-3 victory over Leeds at the weekend and the prospect of increased competitiveness amongst the squad is something that the PFA Young Player of the Year happily welcomes.

He added: “It can only help me and everyone else if you’ve got someone who wants to take your shirt. That always happens, it’s football – you can’t ever rest and get complacent with your place because things can change so quickly.

“So, it’s about making sure everyone is ready to play all the time, everyone is pushing themselves to 100 per cent in training. That can only help the squad as a whole and make sure everyone is ready and everyone is at their best all the time.”

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