Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s career is not to be defined by his success on the field, but rather his influence off it in fighting for equality.
The Premier League has seen a host of powerful displays of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, most notably as players, officials and coaches have all taken a knee in each of the first round of fixtures.
The message was clear that all involved stand together in the fight against racism and for equality.
Jurgen Klopp spoke out on racism being “so unbelievably dumb” and that football is the ideal vessel to help force change, and in an interview with Rio Ferdinand, Liverpool’s No. 66 delivered a moving and powerful speech on utilising his platform to push for change.
“Racism as whole is not only the person that it’s directed at, just because I haven’t been directly racially abused doesn’t mean I haven’t felt racially abused,” Trent told BT Sport.
“In my childhood when my friends have told me they have been racially abused and I feel the pain they feel. It’s a community feeling, if you say it to one person you say it to everyone.
“When things have been said to Raheem Sterling in the past and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Rhian Brewster, Tyrone Mings – they haven’t just said it and hurt them, they’ve hurt everyone.
“It’s about everyone coming together. Everyone of every race knows what’s happening is wrong – racism is wrong. It’s not right and people want to see change.
“The solidarity that we’ve seen is good but it shouldn’t be needed, it shouldn’t still be going on.”
While only in his early twenties, Trent’s rise at Liverpool and as an England international has seen him develop a strong online presence, and with comes a responsibility which he does not take lightly.
And it is not about leading from the “front or the back” in the pursuit of equality and the fight against racism, rather simply being a role model for the right ethics, values and beliefs for the younger generation.
“Whether I’m at the front or the back, I just want to be part of change,” he continued.
“I want to see some change, I want to use my platform in any way that is needed. Whether that is posting pictures, getting involved with things, who knows what it will be.
“I’m sure when people think of the ideas or the stuff that need to happen, I’ll definitely be a part of it.
“It’s something I believe in, it’s something I’ve been educated in a way to know what is right and wrong.
“For us footballers and the Premier League, to have such a powerful platform and to be able to unite people in such a powerful way, with the right things.
“Change may be the sponsorships that go around the pitches, change it to messages that people can see all the time. Just keep reminding people of things, keep trying to educate people.
“I’m sure, hopefully, in time we will see change. But it’s down to the people like us as footballers who have massive platforms.
“People who want to be us, the children, who look up to us, we have got a responsibility to teach them to be better people and understand what is right and wrong.
“Maybe I put pressure on myself because I know that it’s the right thing to do. I want to make sure that I’m educating people and I’m being able to be a role model in that sense. I’ve got a big platform and I know a lot of kids look up to me and I want to put out messages that I believe in.
“For me, it’s not just about being a role model on the pitch and kids wanting to be a right-back like Trent, or cross like Trent, I want them to be looking at me and seeing that he’s got the right values, beliefs, ethics and I want to be like that.
“At the end of my career, I’m not just going to look back and think ‘I won so many trophies’, I want to look back and think ‘I influenced a generation’.
“I want to be someone who feels as though I’ve made a change in the way people think and I want more equality and if at the end of my career I haven’t done then I’d see that as a failure on my behalf.”
The full interview is well worth your time, at just 21 years of age Trent speaks with incredible maturity and passion.