Jude Bellingham has perfect response for Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England critics

Jude Bellingham labelled criticism of Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s defending “a lot of rubbish” as he praised his England team-mate after beating Serbia 1-0.

Alexander-Arnold made only his second tournament start for England as he lined up alongside Declan Rice in midfield in Sunday’s Euro 2024 opener against Serbia.

The 25-year-old did so in a role different to what he’s used to at Liverpool, but one many have claimed should be his position for the long term.

But in the buildup to kickoff in Gelsenkirchen, all the focus was on Alexander-Arnold’s supposed defensive issues, which afterwards goalscorer Bellingham laughed off.

“He makes it so easy for me, because he can control the game so well,” he told ITV.

“Defensively, I think, in that position, I know people talk a lot of rubbish, but I think he was so aggressive with the back-to-goal pressure.

“And it really helped me as well, because it meant I got a breather when he went out.

“I think we understand each other well with the ball, he wants to play positive all the time, he wants to play forward all the time.

“I think we accept as team-mates who have that kind of quality that we’re going to lose the ball, and that’s fine, we’ll win it back for each other and we’ll keep playing. I thought he was brilliant.”

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)

In his post-match press conference, Bellingham doubled down on his praise, insisting Liverpool’s No. 66 is “unmatched” in quality and “always positive” on the ball.

“I loved [playing with him],” said Bellingham, who played further forward as a No. 10.

“I think we had a great balance with the ball, without the ball, particularly in possession I thought Trent was brilliant.

“He conducts games so well. He’s very calm on the ball. His technique and quality’s unmatched, I think, in terms of what he can do with the ball.

“He’s always positive and that really helps someone like me who wants to get on the ball all over the pitch and try and attack their back line.

“So, I look forward to having more minutes with him, enjoying how we can develop and how we can get used to each other’s game, and seeing how far we can take the potential.

“And of course, as always, Dec was fantastic. I think he’s one of the best in the world in that position. He’s a joy.”

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)

Alexander-Arnold gave his own view on the night as he spoke to ITV after the game – which saw him replaced by Conor Gallagher after 69 minutes, having fired more shots on goal than any other player (three).

“It was good, I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said.

“I felt prepared through the conversations and the work that we’d done throughout the week.

“This is something that may seem brand new, but it’s not, we’ve been working – me, the manager, [assistant] Steve Holland – very hard on this role for the past year.

“So a lot of prep’s gone into it, a lot of information, a lot of learning, and a lot of analysing has gone into it.

“They gave me a role to do today and hopefully they feel like I executed it, help contribute to the win and keep a clean sheet.”