Trent Alexander-Arnold’s amazing breakthrough season with Liverpool could yet get even better, with former Reds star Phil Thompson backing him to keep improving as he hopes for a late World Cup call-up.
The 19 year-old right-back has starred as Liverpool defeated the English champions Manchester City to reach the Champions League semi finals and Thompson told Sky Sports that the teenager has shown his class throughout the season, after bursting onto the scene with a sensational free-kick against Hoffenheim in the Champions League qualifying round.
“It was a big moment,” he said. “For him to take charge was quite something. To have that confidence, not to overrule, but to say leave this to me. They trusted him. Usually, when you are a young player coming into the side you kowtow to what the big boys tell you.
“I have been through that at Liverpool as a young player coming in. You know where you are in the pecking order. But for him to do that shows character and I like that in a player. He has got the cojones, as they call it now, to step up and take responsibility.”
It has been an extraordinary rise for the Liverpool full-back, echoing similar paths to former Liverpool greats like Steve Nicol, Rob Jones who also made their Liverpool debuts at a young age and went on to reach great heights in their careers.
Thompson, who played for Liverpool from 1971-1984, revealed that he believes Alexander-Arnold could make it into England’s World Cup squad if England manager Gareth Southgate sees Manchester City’s Kyle Walker as a centre-back rather than a fullback
“I think he can make it to the World Cup in Russia, I really do. If he [Gareth Southgate] sees Kyle Walker as a fullback then Gareth Southgate will probably go with him and the experience of Kieran Trippier. But it could all depend on whether he sees Kyle as a right-sided centre-back instead. If that’s the plan then that could get Trent on the plane,” Thompson added.
Alexander-Arnold’s ability both defensively and offensively have been clear to see this season, with the Liverpool youngster playing more open play crosses than any other Premier League ‘top six’ defenders, whilst making more tackles and interceptions than any other Champions League defender.
Thompson added that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s trust in young players from the academy has been very helpful in the development of the young right-back, insisting other clubs, like Chelsea and Manchester City don’t have the same trust put into their youngsters.
“Trent has a good manager who trusts him and I think that is a big thing. If you have that trust it makes you play better. The big clubs will buy so you don’t get trusted. Chelsea or Manchester City, they are not going to trust many academy players to come through because they want instant success,” Thompson told Sky Sports.