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Sterling is “world class” and Alexander-Arnold’s England inspiration

Three Lions star has evolved from boy to man in ‘spectacular’ fashion after tough treatment in his younger days with Liverpool and Manchester City

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Gareth Southgate post Hungary

Trent Alexander-Arnold hailed pal Raheem Sterling as an inspiration to England’s young players and a role model for football fans all over the country.

Sterling is arguably the Three Lions’ player of the year after shining at the Euros in the summer and continuing his fine international form into Thursday’s clash with Hungary.

He was his country’s first goalscorer in three of their first four games at Euro 2020 and followed up with the opening goal in the 4-0 World Cup qualifying win in Budapest.

Alexander-Arnold already looked up to Sterling as he was coming up at Liverpool before the latter’s move to Manchester City.



Raheem Sterling scores against Hungary in England’s 4-0 win




But he has seen him take off as a player and a person since that switch in 2015.

The right-back said: “Raheem has been a world-class player for a number of years.

“The consistency and goals he has added to his game in the last four or five years, the way he has evolved from a boy to a man, has been spectacular to see.

“He is a role model for everyone around the country, really. A role model for me definitely.

“He’s someone who wasn’t painted in the greatest light in the media for a long time.

“People concentrated on Raheem for a lot of things and he dealt with that as a young lad, focused on his football, developed and turned himself into a world-class player and world-class person.



Trent Alexander-Arnold loves playing with Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish




“He’s someone who I know a lot of the young lads look up to and want to try to emulate.”

Sterling and Jack Grealish both had good games either side of Harry Kane in midweek.

And Alexander-Arnold is delighted £100million City new boy Grealish will get to showcase his talents on the biggest club stage following his move from Aston Villa.

He added: “Jack’s recent club move has shown us his talents are for being part of a team that is trying to push for big trophies across the board over the course of the season.

“Obviously now coming in and playing Champions League football will be a big opportunity and a big stage for him to show his talents on as well.



Jack Grealish, giving the Hungarian supporters who threw drinks at England’s players a bit back, will shine on the Champions League stage, according to Alexander-Arnold
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Image:

Zsolt Szigetvary/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)




“A player of that type of talent and ability should be playing Champions League football and it’s somewhere he needs to be.

“As a full-back, it’s a lot better playing with them than against them.

“They’re fantastic players.”

England’s defence will face another fantastic player in Robert Lewandowski against Portugal on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old missed the two sides’ first clash in March with a knee injury but, fit again, he was on target with his nation’s first goal in their 4-1 victory over Albania on Thursday.







And asked how to stop him scoring, Alexander-Arnold said: “You stop the ball getting to him really.

“If he doesn’t have the ball he can’t score a goal.

“You have to try to stop the service — the crosses, through-balls, passes — into him, because any type of balls around him, he’s a threat to the goal.

“So if we can stop the ball getting to him high up the pitch, not only is that a benefit for us but it also kills their game-plan.”




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