Declan Rice’s rant on Trent Alexander-Arnold shows how England players feel

Declan Rice is the latest to come to Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s defence following criticism of his England role, hitting back at his team-mate’s detractors.

Alexander-Arnold’s conversion to midfielder has been the story of the Euros so far for England, having seen the Liverpool right-back brought off in both games.

It has been a difficult transition for the 25-year-old, but even playing only 53 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Denmark, he still managed to create the most chances (three).

The narrative was not helped by Gareth Southgate admitting his use of Alexander-Arnold was an “experiment,” with the England manager still pining for Kalvin Phillips.

But speaking to ITV ahead of the Three Lions’ final group game against Slovenia, Rice made a passionate defence of his team-mate that shows how England players feel.

“It’s funny, because people were calling for Trent to play in midfield,” the Arsenal midfielder said.

“Half the country are calling for Trent to play in midfield, and then you play him in midfield and you want to bring him down. I don’t get it. I don’t get it at all.

“I’ll defend all of my boys until the day I never put on an England shirt. Trent is one of the best players I’ve ever seen.

READ: Ian Wright has nailed it with passionate defence of Trent Alexander-Arnold

“Don’t call for someone to play in a position and then backtrack, all because you think he’s had a bad game or something!

“I’ll tell you now, Trent can play in midfield. I’ve seen it at England, I’ve seen it for Liverpool, he’s unbelievable.

“So that’s what I say to the people that you see say that type of stuff.”

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - Sunday, June 16, 2024: England's Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) shakes hands with head coach Gareth Southgate as he walks to the bench as he is substituted during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C match between Serbia and England at the Arena AufSchalke. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It seems likely still that Southgate will drop Alexander-Arnold on Tuesday night, with Chelsea‘s Conor Gallagher his probable replacement.

But regardless of personnel, Rice believes there is an ongoing issue with how England’s midfield is viewed.

“When we played against Iceland and we lost 1-0 at home, obviously we played me and Kobbie together and I think for the goal we were both pressing man-to-man onto their midfielders,” he continued.

“People were calling for stability and calling for an actual [No. 6], telling me to sit in a way, because we got caught out, pressing high.

“Against Serbia, we kind of sit lower, win 1-0, get a clean sheet – people still complain.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - Sunday, June 16, 2024: England players line-up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C match between Serbia and England at the Arena AufSchalke. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“So it’s like, as a midfield, as a three or whoever’s going to play in there, it’s just about getting that stability right.

“You know, I’m happy, more than happy, to sit. I tell the attackers all the time, ‘I will sit and you lot go and flourish, do your stuff and I’ll do all the dirty work’.

“I don’t mind doing that, because we have the best players in the world in front of me.

“It’s just about finding that balance when you’re coming up against opposition and seeing how other teams work. I think that’s the main thing.”