“With the ball, Trent smashes all of them to pieces.”
Over the course of his first few seasons as Liverpool’s first-choice right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a magnet for glowing reviews.
And deservedly so. After breaking into the Liverpool first-team in 2017, Alexander-Arnold has firmly established himself as one of Europe’s most effective full-backs in the attacking third.
The 22-year-old’s remarkable passing range and pace on the counter helped him notch 12 assists during the 2018/19 Premier League before surpassing that with 13 as Liverpool clinched the title last year.
In recent weeks, however, Alexander-Arnold has been at the centre of a debate regarding England’s right-back options for this summer’s Euros after he was dropped by Gareth Southgate.
The England boss excluded Alexander-Arnold from his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Chelsea’s Reece James started in the easy win over San Marino with Manchester City’s Kyle Walker preferred for the Albania and Poland games.
But speaking on his YouTube show, Rio Ferdinand explained why he would take Alexander-Arnold to the Euros if he was in Southgate’s position.
‘His best attributes absolutely outweigh everything else’ – Ferdinand on Alexander-Arnold
During a heated exchange with co-hosts Stephen Howson and Joel Beya, Ferdinand said: “If you play a low block, Trent’s got the ability to play a 30, 40-yard pass on the counter to get someone in immediately.
“If you’re playing a low block, he’s got people around him to cover and he can create two v ones against the winger.
After Howson responded by saying he “wasn’t having” Alexander-Arnold as a defender, Ferdinand explained that Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka still needs to improve defensively despite being proficient in one-on-one battles.
Wan-Bissaka has been a regular in the United line-up since arriving from Crystal Palace in 2019 but is yet to make his England debut and was, like Alexander-Arnold, omitted from Southgate’s latest squad.
“Wan-Bissaka is the best one v one defender in Europe, for me, but he’s still got work to do defensively,” argued Ferdinand.
“You see the goal yesterday against Brighton, he doesn’t know where the striker is.”
When Beya jumped in to say it was unfair to highlight single mistakes, Ferdinand responded: “They all make mistakes defensively.
Look at what this assist meant to Trent Alexander-Arnold ❤️
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 5, 2021
“With the ball, Trent smashes all of them to pieces. His best attributes absolutely outweigh everything else.
“I’ll tell you what we do too much in this game. We look for people’s weaknesses. Yaya Toure is the best example. ‘He can’t defend, he can’t play in a 4-4-2’. Shut up! He’s an absolute animal on the pitch.
“A great player, scores goals, assists, can take the game by the scruff of the neck, but you’re talking about he can’t defend.
“It happens all the time. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been the best right-back in the world for two years, but you’re telling me ‘oh, he can’t defend’. What do you mean?
“Who’s a much better defender all round and is actually anywhere near him with the ball?”
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) April 5, 2021