Gareth Southgate suggests something 'really exciting' could be happening at Liverpool now
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Gareth Southgate suggests something 'really exciting' could be happening at Liverpool now

England manager Gareth Southgate has suggested that he’s excited about Trent Alexander-Arnold’s change of position for Liverpool.

Southgate spoke to The Mirror after naming his Three Lions squad for the upcoming qualifiers in June. And after recalling Trent to the group, the England boss gave an insight into his relationship with the Liverpool right-back, who has rarely been his first choice.

“The reason for the conversation [with Trent] was that I felt it was good to chat to him about what he is doing, about how I see it, how he sees it, what it might become,” said the 52-year-old. “Contrary to what might be the mood music – I have a really good relationship with him and we talk a lot about his game, football.

“‌I’ve always recognised his qualities as a player but he’s just been bloody unlucky that we’ve got [Kyle] Walker, who has just had three of the best games I’ve seen from a right back, [Kieran] Trippier who has probably been one of the outstanding players this season, Reece James also.

“So that has been difficult and England won’t have been as fulfilling because he has unbelievable experiences with Liverpool and we haven’t been able to give him the same. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think he is a bloody good footballer and you’d like to find a way of it working because of his talents.

“That’s why I felt it was important to call him as I have done in the past. As to what his best position is, who knows moving forward. We shouldn’t be sitting here saying he is a midfielder now because we have a glimpse of that, but there’s a lot more to it and could be really exciting but let’s see.”

Klopp shows Southgate the way with Trent

Southgate actually attempted to use Alexander-Arnold in midfield long before Jurgen Klopp did. However, his remit against Andorra back in September 2021 lacked the tactical nuance of the position Klopp has carved out for him.

As far as we know, that’s the one and only time Trent has been given a midfield role by the England manager.

But really, what’s stopping him from using Alexander-Arnold there now? He may not be playing the role full-time for the Reds, he’s still nominally a right-back and has all the duties that come with that when Liverpool don’t have the ball.

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

In possession though, he’s truly as good as almost any midfielder in the Premier League.

As Southgate searches for the right long-term third wheel to the Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham duo, why wouldn’t he turn to Trent?

Who else is he going to pick? For the current qualifiers, he’s gone with Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, Eberechi Eze and Kalvin Phillips. With respect to all of the above, absolutely none of them can hold a candle to Trent. Including Jordan.

With Rice and the Liverpool man both twenty-four, and Bellingham yet to turn twenty, that’s your midfield sorted for at least the next five or six years.

We still can’t see Southgate doing that. But he’s shown before that he’s willing to try. Klopp has shown him the way, now it’s time to try it again.

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