England legend Ashley Cole offered advice to Trent Alexander-Arnold on Wednesday. The Liverpool star struggled against Real Madrid.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is under pressure. Gareth Southgate left him out of the England squad, shining a very bright spotlight on the Scouser.
His defending has come into question this season but, particularly, over the last few weeks. That was the background going into the game against Real Madrid.
Unfortunately, Alexander-Arnold struggled in Spain. Real attacked his flank again and again, trying to get at him.
He received very little help in the first-half, too, from the struggling Naby Keita. Alexander-Arnold also only had Nat Phillips – wildly inexperienced at this level – covering him as a centre-back.
Thus it was largely on Alexander-Arnold to handle himself. While he could arguably have done better with the first goal, the second was certainly his fault.
The 22-year-old tried to head it away but instead found Marco Asensio. The Spaniard was now clear through on goal and finished past Alisson.
It was a torrid time for Alexander-Arnold and while things improved in the second half, it wasn’t enough. With that spotlight on him, the Scouser did himself no favours.
But he did receive plenty of pointers after the game. Jamie Carragher attempted to explain exactly what Alexander-Arnold does wrong in one-on-one situations, for instance.
Perhaps the best advice came from Ashley Cole, however, as the England legend offered simple advice to Alexander-Arnold.
“The area he can improve would be his feet patterns – movements which allows him to turn and match his opponents run or dribble,” he wrote on Twitter.
“If you can’t move them quick enough it doesn’t matter how fast you are, you will get beat. Foot patterns will get you in defensive positions to turn quick.”
What RTK has to say
Honestly, small improvements like this are all it takes for Alexander-Arnold to get back to his best. He’s not, contrary to popular belief, actually a bad defender.
For one, he’s been a part of the Premier League’s tightest back four over the last two years. That simply can’t happen if you’re a defensive liability.
Alexander-Arnold has certainly suffered from not having a quality centre-half alongside him, though. He also struggles without a solid covering centre-midfielder like Jordan Henderson on his side.
We have no doubt that with better players back and a few small tweaks, things will be back to normal again. This is just a high-pressure, bad run of form.