DOHA, QATAR - Friday, November 25, 2022: England's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and USA at the Al Bayt Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fans baffled by Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England role – as Gary Neville U-turns

Liverpool fans were left baffled as Gareth Southgate overlooked Trent Alexander-Arnold during England’s drab 0-0 draw with the United States.

England were expected to steamroll over their American opposition in the second game of their World Cup campaign, having produced a 6-2 victory over Iran in the opener.

Instead, they were left to play a pragmatic game, with few genuine chances to break the deadlock, while at the other end Christian Pulisic struck the bar.

Southgate named an unchanged lineup, and perhaps rightly so, but as the game unfolded, he turned to Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson from the bench.

Appearing to settle for a draw, the England manager declined the option of two more substitutions as both Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden went unused.

The lack of ambition, in ignoring two of football’s most dangerous young players at 0-0, sparked criticism from many England supporters.

This was echoed by Liverpool fans, who took to Twitter to question the use of Alexander-Arnold.

Watching on in the ITV studio, Gary Neville took a similar stance, describing it as a “little bit disappointing” both Alexander-Arnold and Foden were ignored as “they are world-class talents.”

“Other nations, Spain, Brazil, France, probably would have Trent Alexander-Arnold and Foden in the starting XI,” he said.

“I understand it a little bit, having watched Trent Alexander-Arnold defend.

“But when you see a game like that, where we lack creativity, where we can’t really create any chances, you think those two players really should be in there.”

Before the tournament, Neville appeared to sympathise with Southgate as he argued that he “[couldn’t] see how Gareth could go into a knockout game of a World Cup playing [Alexander-Arnold].”

And Liverpool supporters were quick to flag his questionable change of heart.

It is, of course, no surprise that Southgate failed to employ the unique talents of Liverpool’s No. 66, as that has been a common thread throughout his time in charge of England.

Often it is justified, with both Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker producing strong performances for the Three Lions, but there are many occasions when his omission is a clear oversight.

One of those came on Friday night, with all parties right to criticise the decision to not only leave out Alexander-Arnold, but also Foden.