Trent Alexander-Arnold made his competitive England debut in Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to Belgium, and the verdict on his World Cup bow was positive.
It was an extremely proud night for the 19-year-old, who didn’t look at all out of place on the biggest international stage of all.
Alexander-Arnold has enjoyed a remarkable rise in the last 12 months, and this was the first of what should be many major tournament appearances for him.
The media have been gushing over the Liverpool’s youngster’s impact for the Three Lions on Thursday, despite their eventual defeat.
BBC Sport‘s Phil McNulty gave Alexander-Arnold the joint-highest rating on the night (7/10), writing:
“Excellent temperament and acquitted himself well. Let down by his poor set-piece delivery but one of England’s better performers.”
Martha Kelner of the Guardian was no different, again singling him out as one of England’s better performers:
“Teenager was industrious down the right wing and goal-line clearance will have given confidence.”
Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp felt the positives outweighed the negatives, although he correctly bemoaned some of Alexander-Arnold’s dead-ball quality:
“A big night for the teenager. Got forward but his deliveries from set-pieces were not as good as they could be.”
It was a landmark occasion for the boyhood Red, who followed some illustrious company when it came to starting a World Cup game as a teenager:
4 – Trent Alexander-Arnold (19 years, 264 days), is only the fourth teenager to start a World Cup match for England, after Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling and Michael Owen. Youth. #ENG #ENGBEL #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/aPLVcaEdZp
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 28, 2018
Supporters and journalists alike also praised the right-back’s impact on Twitter:
A composed Trent Alexander-Arnold excelling on his competitive #ENG debut.
Most key passes, touches, crosses and passes in the opposition half for the Three Lions in the first 45. His delivery, as ever, has been superb. A clearance off the line too!#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/jDmL2MUIUW
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) June 28, 2018
Trent A-A only made his U21 debut in September. He has just played his first 45 minutes of World Cup football like an absolute pro. Classy. Assured. What a future he has.
— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) June 28, 2018
Trent Alexander Arnold has the potential to become one of the finest full backs of his generation.
— Rory Greenfield (@RoryGreenfield) June 28, 2018
Trent Alexander-Arnold's been England's best player in this first half.
— Emma Sanders (@em_sandy) June 28, 2018
100% tackle success
100% aerial duels won
89% pass accuracy
2 chances created
The teenager's debut on the big stage. ? pic.twitter.com/KJKtGOxvaP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 28, 2018
Trent with 9 key passes. More than anyone else on the pitch.
Not bad for your World Cup debut! Well played! ??
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) June 28, 2018
Well England's best player went off after 70 mins. Well played Alexander-Arnold..
— Leam Fox (@RoadtoWembley21) June 28, 2018
Trent-watch: International football is a piece of piss to this lad.
— Gareth Roberts (@robbohuyton) June 28, 2018
Alexander-Arnold took to social media to express his pride at his achievement, despite the result, and also spoke honestly to reporters after the game.
What an experience it was making my World Cup Debut! Gutted not to get three points but we now look forward to the last 16. Come on England??? pic.twitter.com/bIkyFdvnL0
— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) June 28, 2018
“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “We came into the game wanting to win it, obviously we never won it, but we are still in the round of 16 and something to look forward to.”
The teenager is likely to be replaced by Kieran Trippier when England take on Colombia in the last 16 on July 3, with the Tottenham man impressing against Tunisia and Panama.
But if Gareth Southgate does call upon Liverpool’s No. 66 he can be confident of another assured display.