Alexander-Arnold plotting rise from mediocrity to England captaincy

Anfield star speaks honestly about his Three Lions form and Euro 2020 heartache as he prepares for World Cup qualifier return against Andorra

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Gareth Southgate post Hungary

Mediocre isn’t a word many in football would associate with Trent Alexander-Arnold.

After all, at 22, he’s a Premier League, Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup-winning right-back, who has made 132 Premier League appearances for Liverpool and has twice been voted into the PFA’s team of the year by his fellow pros.

But in a frank assessment, that is the word he chooses to describe his contribution at international level.

And it’s something he desperately wants to change — he hopes starting today against Andorra — in a bid to help England to silverware.

“Since I’ve come into the squad, I haven’t really been the best version of myself,” said the 13-cap Liverpool defender, who made his debut against Costa Rica in a friendly ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Alexander-Arnold has made no secret of his desire to captain his country one day


Getty Images)

“I haven’t put in the performances I have regularly for my club and I expect more for myself when I play for England.

“That’s what I try to do every time I get the opportunity now and, hopefully, over the next week, I will be given an opportunity to perform and am able to take it.

“I’m not sure why it has been like that.

“Obviously, with less games come less opportunities.

“There is a lot more competition for places here — at club level I am a regular who plays most of the games.

“It is just about not finding the form and the level I need and the level I demand on a daily basis.

“I had a really good game a few years back in the Nations League third-place play-off against Switzerland but I just couldn’t hit the ground running after that.

“Other than that, they have been mediocre performances by my standard and that’s what I need to improve.”

With Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, England are loaded with quality right-backs, so he knows mediocre won’t cut it.

He added: “It’s probably one of the most over-populated positions we have got with amazing players so it’s always going to be difficult to find yourself in a position where you are playing regularly.

Kyle Walker was England’s prominent right-back at Euro 2020


Shaun Botterill – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

“I’ve had talks with Gareth Southgate, we talk about things that I’m doing well, things I can improve.

“We have touched on the defensive side of my game a bit more to be a bit more reliable and trustworthy in that respect and that’s something I need to work on.”

Southgate named all four in his Euro 2020 squad but Alexander-Arnold missed out through injury and watched some of the tournament at home and some in Portugal.

He said: “It was a tough one. I had put in a lot of hard work and it was a massive honour being named in the squad.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate but it is football, these things happen.

Reece James will provided Alexander-Arnold with competition


Getty Images)

“I was gutted I was missing out but, at the same time, you’re watching your mates achieve special things, things that hadn’t been achieved for the country.

“At the World Cup in 2018, I was in that bubble, so you don’t really know what it’s like.

“You hear all the stories about how much support goes on around the country but, when you’re outside that bubble and get to see it first hand, it’s incredible.

“To see the whole country behind them, it was moving for me.”

The sky is the limit for Alexander-Arnold’s ultimate England ambitions.

He added: “I’ve said before my target is to one day captain England and that’s not changed at all.

“That’s something I believe I can achieve if I work hard enough.

“I’ve never really put limitations on myself, I’ve always strived to be the best version of myself at every opportunity I get.

“I want to win trophies, to become a regular, to lead the team out and things like that.

“And those things are achievable for me.”

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