Gareth Southgate hints at new England role for Alexander-Arnold after ‘talks’

Gareth Southgate has revealed he holds regular talks with Trent Alexander-Arnold after recalling him to the England squad for next months Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The 24-year-old has played a significant part in Liverpool’s success in recent years and has been in scintillating form since his positional shift last month, but regular football for his country has always deserted him.

Alexander-Arnold was put back into the national squad for the first time since the World Cup in Qatar, having missed out on a place for the last round of fixtures.

Speaking after naming the right-back alongside captain Jordan Henderson in the latest England squad, Southgate admitted he has spoken with Alexander-Arnold about his role within the set-up.

“Contrary to what might be the mood music – I have a really good relationship with him and we talk a lot about his game, football,” the England boss explained.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 19, 2022: England manager Gareth Southgate during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I’ve always recognised his qualities as a player but he’s just been bloody unlucky that we’ve got Walker, who has just had three of the best games I’ve seen from a right back, Trippier who has probably been one of the outstanding players this season, Reece James also.”

Southgate has baffled Liverpool supporters on a number of occasions with his decisions to omit the defender from England selections, having continuously proven himself to be one of the Reds’ most important players.

After confessing that he is conscious of the noise around such decisions, the England manager described Alexander-Arnold as a “bloody good footballer” and hinted that he could be deployed in his new role for the national team.

“England won’t have been as fulfilling because he has unbelievable experiences with Liverpool and we haven’t been able to give him the same,” Southgate continued.

DOHA, QATAR - Sunday, December 4, 2022: England's Trent Alexander-Arnold sits on the bench during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between England and Senegal at the Al Bayt Stadium. England won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“But that doesn’t mean I don’t think he is a bloody good footballer and you’d like to find a way of it working because of his talents.

“As to what his best position is, who knows moving forward. We shouldn’t be sitting here saying he is a midfielder now because we have a glimpse of that but there’s a lot more to it and could be really exciting but let’s see.”

Not all Liverpool supporters concern themselves greatly with the fortunes of England, but decisions to overlook Alexander-Arnold have often perplexed many.

Whether a call-up to the squad will translate to minutes on the pitch remains to be seen, but it has been an incredible upturn in form since switching to a hybrid role between right-back and midfield for the Reds.