Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has confessed that he did not enjoy Gareth Southgate’s ‘experiment‘ during England’s 4-0 thrashing of Andorra.
The Three Lions gaffer deployed the 22-year-old in a more advanced position in the first half, though he dropped him back beyond half-time, allowing Chelsea’s Reece James to play in the middle of the park.
During the post-match interview, Alexander-Arnold admitted he struggled to get on the ball in his new role, even though he came through the ranks at Liverpool as a midfielder.
“It’s a new role for me, a bit different,” he told talkSPORT. “I think there’s been a lot of questions being asked whether I can or cannot play in there and a lot of opinions being voiced over the last few weeks.
“It was an experiment the manager wanted to try out, but it was difficult to get on the ball for me. I found it a lot more difficult to get on the ball in those spaces.
“But whether I’m starting in there or starting right back, I think naturally I just find myself drifting into midfield, getting the ball and affecting the game.”
Alexander-Arnold was a midfielder at youth level, with Steven Gerrard describing him as a’ No 6, a holding midfielder’ in his 2015 autobiography.
He has often been touted for performing in a more advanced role due to his eye-catching playmaking skills and wide passing range.
However, the Englishman has grown into one of the most influential right-backs in the Premier League since making his senior breakthrough in 2018 under Jurgen Klopp.
The German manager has insisted on shifting Alexander-Arnold to a right-back position, which has turned out to be a massive hit.
The youngster has been an instrumental part of a Liverpool team that have lifted the Premier League and Champions League titles in the past few years.
His deadly crosses, set-piece skills, drifting into spaces and tremendous ability to carry the ball forward have helped him forge a reputation as one of the most prolific defenders in Europe’s top-five divisions.
After missing out on England’s European Championship campaign due to injury, Alexander-Arnold returned to the fold in September on the back of an impressive start to the 2021/22 season.
But due to fierce competition for places in the national team, he has struggled for regular first-team action under Southgate.
It could be one of the reasons the England boss has decided to switch the Reds star to the middle of the pitch.
However, Alexander-Arnold’s latest statement suggests we might not see him playing outside his comfort zone again.
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