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Reece James says criticism of Trent Alexander-Arnold is from people who 'don't know the game'

Reece James gave his own take on Trent Alexander-Arnold this week. The two are vying for England’s right-back spot.

Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold are two of Europe’s best young right-backs. That makes picking one for England a little tricky – someone’s got to sit out.

Both have slightly different games, though. James is more solid defensively and a more powerful player. Alexander-Arnold is a creative machine on a level that no other fullback can compete with.

Yet, the Scouser receives an incredible amount of criticism for someone of his calibre. He was even left out of the England squad in 2021 and doesn’t actually start all that often.

It’s his defending that gets the stick – Alexander-Arnold constantly faces claims that he can’t actually do it. But what does James think of that?

“I make mistakes as well,” said James, per the Daily Mail. “I gave away a penalty against Hungary so we are both still learning our trade.

“Liverpool have 95 per cent of the ball and he defends less than I have to. People have a lot of stuff to say and don’t really know the game. Trent is a great player.”

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Reece James defends Trent Alexander-Arnold

As James says, they play different roles. For one, James frequently plays in a back-five for Chelsea whereas Alexander-Arnold is always in a four. He doesn’t get the same cover as the Blues defender.

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But honestly, the idea that Alexander-Arnold can’t defend has always been nonsense. He’s played a role in one of the league’s best defences over the last few years – and what was the outright tightest defence over 2019 and 2020.

That’s impossible if you’re a weak defender who opposition attacks can exploit. But then, there’s a reason that Jurgen Klopp gets so wound up by the criticism that he threatened to punch people earlier this year.

Is Alexander-Arnold the world’s most solid defender? Of course not. But he’s not even remotely near to being the liability that some make him out to be.

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