Jamie Carragher isn’t surprised by Gareth Southgate’s decision to snub Trent Alexander-Arnold from the latest England squad, although he is in disagreement with the head-coach.
Alexander-Arnold, 22, has clocked up 34 appearances this season, and according to Jurgen Klopp, has been one of Liverpool’s most consistent players since January.
This comes from The Athletic. Klopp has reportedly been impressed with Alexander-Arnold’s leadership as well as his ability to adapt his defensive game due to Liverpool’s unparalleled number of injuries this term.
Carragher, too, has noticed an improvement from Alexander-Arnold in terms of the players defensive output.
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Carragher on Alexander-Arnold
Writing for The Telegraph, he said: “Strange as it sounds for a full-back, defending has never been his strongest asset. He has sometimes struggled in one-on-one defensive or man-marking situations.
“Naturally, when Liverpool’s back four and midfield was destabilised by injuries at the start of this season, that became more apparent.”
The Sky Sports pundit added: “The irony is that over the course of the last few months, the defensive side of Alexander-Arnold’s game has markedly improved.
“Some of his recent performances have been his most solid this season. He could have been named Liverpool’s man-of-the-match against RB Leipzig and Wolves, when the team kept back-to-back clean sheets.”
“The problem for him is while Southgate is judging him on defensive basics, the wider public assess his contribution on the attacking statistics, which until this season have been so impressive.
“Fans look at 25 league assists from 2018 to 2020 and consider that the benchmark. That’s a ridiculously high standard against which to evaluate him – the equivalent of expecting Mohamed Salah to score 40 goals every season because he did it in his debut year at Anfield.”
What RTK has to say
Perhaps why we are so disappointed to see Alexander-Arnold punished for the first minor blip of his career, is that Southgate hasn’t defended the Liverpool man where he has other players.
For example, Harry Maguire was unwaveringly backed by Southgate, who at the start of the season, was wretchedly out of form and was even sent off while on England duty.
The point is that Southgate can’t pick and choose when the narrative of ‘form’ suits him. Is it really too much to expect some leeway for a player who has won the Premier League and played in two Champions League finals before the age of 22?
Luckily, Alexander-Arnold is a tough character and will use Southgate’s decision as motivation to only drive him forward.
He also has the best manager is world football to turn to in the coming weeks as a support network following what will have been a difficult phone call yesterday.