Andy Robertson accepts criticism is part and parcel of football, but that doesn’t mean he understands how heavy it can get. As is the case with Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The right-back, who won everything at Liverpool by age 23, is often hitting the headlines for one reason or another.
We’ve seen Jurgen Klopp‘s valiant defences and Gareth Southgate’s cold shoulder, among various other voices pertaining to Alexander-Arnold. On top of the world one minute, at the bottom the next.
It’s this extreme reaction that has struck a chord with Robertson, who spoke about the criticism his full-back partner receives with BBC’s Proper Football Podcast last December.
“What he does with the football at right-back is incredible to me,” Robertson said of Alexander-Arnold.
“He’s a special, special player and sometimes people forget how young he is. He’s got the world at his feet.
“The fact that he’s only young still, he’ll only get better. That’s the scary thing.
“People are quick to talk players up, especially English players. But they’re also quick to knock them back down again,” he added on the criticism that comes the Scouser’s way.
“Since he’s come onto the scene, he’s been frightening, what he’s done with a football, for the game, for the club. He’s been unbelievable.
“We all show weaknesses. Every full-back gets beat by a winger every now and again. We all have dips of form. Maybe when Trent has a wee dip in form, a lot more gets said about it than other players.
“I don’t know why, but I know he’s a strong character and he can block it out and he deals with it.
“So, when things get said, I don’t worry about him. That’s for sure. But, yeah, the criticism of him is quite heavy and I don’t really know why.”
Three months on from Robertson’s interview, which has only now just been released, Alexander-Arnold remains in the headlines following Liverpool’s exit from the Champions League.
Vinicius Jr. ran the 24-year-old ragged and Jamie Carragher’s analysis caused a strong reaction, but he rightly noted the lack of competition Alexander-Arnold has at Anfield.
That has played its part in the unrelenting demands on Alexander-Arnold to perform week in and week out, a limitation even Klopp acknowledged when he said his full-backs cannot play “50-something games” a season as “it would limit their careers.”