We finally got a glimpse of Trent Alexander-Arnold playing in midfield for today.
After years of questions about whether he would eventually end up in that position, he got a start there for England against Andorra.
England 4-0 Andorra
England made 11 changes from their 4-0 win over Hungary on Thursday as they faced the 158th-ranked side in the world in Andorra.
They were expected to blow the minnows over. But it wasn’t all that simple.
Jesse Lingard opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a good strike from inside the box.
Despite the Three Lions dominating the ball, they failed to bag a second before halftime. There were a few decent chances, but no real sitters or unbelievable saves from Josep Gomes.
The second half was very similar. England had an unbelievable amount of possession, but little attacking impetus.
Harry Kane, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount were introduced on the hour mark. The three combined for the Three Lions’ second goal, with Grealish and Mount exchanging passes before the Chelsea man was fouled in the box.
Kane tucked the resulting penalty away before Lingard grabbed his second with a beautiful goal six minutes later.
Bukayo Saka sealed it with a header with five minutes left.
Alexander-Arnold selected in midfield
Liverpool fans were excited when Gareth Southgate’s team selection was announced before kick-off.
This was due to the midfield three. Jordan Henderson captained the side from the No 6 role, while Jude Bellingham, who many believe should succeed Henderson at Anfield, was one of his partners.
Yet the most intriguing selection was Trent Alexander-Arnold as the right-sided No 8.
We have always wondered how he would go in the centre of the park, and we got some answers today.
He is also well used to seeing midfielders play in a 4-3-3 as it is what Liverpool play with.
So he wasn’t completely out of his depth by any means. Yes, starting off he was a bit unsure of exactly where to be, but his positional play improved as the clock ticked by.
There were numerous runs into the box, which is not something we see when he is at right-back.
As the half wore on, he settled down much more and was picking the ball up in deeper areas. It was in similar positions to where he receives the ball at fullback, so he was better able to show off his range of passing.
Yet Southgate clearly wanted to change things up. At half-time, he moved Alexander-Arnold to right-back, with Reece James going into No 6 and Jordan Henderson pushing further forward.
All-in-all, it was a decent showing for the 22-year-old in midfield. He looked relatively natural and didn’t make many errors.
There is certainly evidence to show that he could be an excellent central midfielder if he gets some more time there in future.
What did Twitter have to say?
Liverpool fans were keen to tune in to see how Alexander-Arnold faired in this new midfield role.
However, there were conflicting views.
Many believed that Southgate would be better off leaving him at right-back, considering he is arguably the best in the world in that position.
Here are some of our favourite thoughts on the matter from Twitter.
RB is overloaded so I’m assuming Southgate wants the flexibility of having Trent in midfield. He has the passing range, the rest should come if he plays enough.— corvo (@cxrvo) September 5, 2021