Liverpool legend John Barnes insisted there are “no issues” with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performances as he pinned recent struggles on the shortcomings of his teammates.
Right-back Alexander-Arnold has endured a turbulent season and his latest high-profile mistake came in the 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old appears short of confidence after he was dropped from the England squad and faces an uphill battle to force his way back into contention in time for this summer’s Euros.
It has long-been suspected Alexander-Arnold is stronger going forward than defending one-on-one, but he is often covered for by the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum.
With Henderson out injured, Milner benched and Wijnaldum on the left of midfield against Real Madrid, Barnes claims it should come as no surprise to see Alexander-Arnold struggle.
“I don’t think there’re any issues with Trent’s performance,” the former Three Lions forward told BonusCodeBets.
“His strength is going forward, and when we have a midfield three like we normally do, in terms of Wijnaldum and Henderson and Milner, he can go forward and not necessarily worry about defending that much, because they will cover for him.
“But once you have different midfields, whereby if he goes forward, that space can be exposed then, when Trent gets caught out of position, then there’s a problem.”
Barnes also remains confident Alexander-Arnold can force his way into Gareth Southgate’s plans and claims he will be “very surprised” if he does not make the cut.
The Anfield hero added: “Overall, Trent has been playing well and consistently.
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“Yes, he would have made the odd mistake that gave a goal away, but when Liverpool were winning, and he was creating chances, those mistakes were forgotten about.
“But the fact is that we lost he gets a lot of the blame, but we didn’t lose because of Trent. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t go to the Euros.
“Obviously it depends on who we play. Gareth may look at that situation and say, we want a stronger defensive player if we’re playing against maybe a France, Spain or a Belgium.
“But if you’re talking about us being able to attack and create, there’s not another right back who can create more than Trent.
“And if you’re going to play three centre backs, as Gareth has done at times, and he likes to do that, then the right wing-back role is tailor made for Trent. I have no worries about him being in the squad this summer – he’s a great player!”
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