“Nobody wants to grow up and be a Gary Neville,” Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher once joked about his Sky Sports co-expert and that the right-back is the most unglamorous position on the football field.

England could have a full squad of right-backs though, that’s how strong they are in this area.

Three of them went to the Euro with Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Manchester United, Matty Cash of Aston Villa, Luke Ayling of Leeds United, Tariq Lamptey of Brighton and Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal all as It is unlikely that they will be playing in such a strongly represented position.

But the one who causes the most international debate – and perhaps the most talented of them all – is Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Although the now 22-year-old has played an important role in the seasons the Reds won the Champions League and Premier League, his chances in England have been extremely limited and he has only represented his country 14 times since he made his career made its debut in 2018.

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill / Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

He was advised of missing out on the English squad for this year’s European Championship and was then picked up at the last minute before being knocked out anyway due to injury and was apparently skipped in the pecking order by James.

“To be fair, since I’ve been in the squad, I’m not really the best version of myself, I haven’t shown the performances that I have regularly for my club,” said Alexander-Arnold after his return to international football this week.

“I expect more from myself when I play for England. This is what I try every time I get the chance, and hopefully now for the next week I’ll get and get the chance to perform.

“It was mediocre for me and that’s what I need to improve. I worked on that.

“I think it’s just not about finding shape and finding the level that I need and that I demand every day. I just couldn’t get to this bar. “

If you were to put up a team of English right-backs 1-11, you would put Alexander-Arnold right as the central midfielder, and even if you expanded the pool to include any English player, many make the argument that the Liverpool man is anyway Should be moved there, so is his passing and playmaking ability.

“I have said it many times, but the best passer in English football is @TrentAA. He should play in midfield like he was a kid, ”tweeted English legend Gary Lineker last week.

“Lahm has changed, Kimmich too. The best players should be in a position where they can use their brilliance more often. “

However, he drew a firm response from Carragher, who could no longer disagree with Lineker on the matter, and called it “insane” to suggest that he should be transferred to a post other than his best position.

“No, it shouldn’t, full-backs get more off the ball than anyone else and a little more time to choose their passes,” he replied.

“The way Klopp is structured, he’s a midfielder in possession of the ball anyway. The amount of assists he gets means it would be crazy to change position. “

The call for Alexander-Arnold to play further up front is fueled by the number of assists and goals he’s been involved in for Liverpool. In the 132 games he’s played for the Reds in the Premier League, he’s scored eight goals and 34 assists – that’s one goal every 3.1 games, which is frankly remarkable for a right-back.

When Gareth Southgate named his team for England’s one-sided 4-0 win against Andorra on Monday morning (AEST), proponents of both sides of the Alexander Arnold debate were curious to see how the 22-year-old would play in the midfield role for the first time.

The result of the experiment caused far less discussion than the hypothesis.

Both the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph gave him the lowest rating of any English player on the pitch, six out of ten, with the experiment abandoned at halftime; James was put in the role of holding midfield and Alexander-Arnold was returned to the right full-back.

But in those 45 minutes against a team ranked 156 in the world, he played like someone who wanted to be at the bottom and eagerly drifted into that position to cover the runs of James, whom he was way too close all along. He looked insecure and insecure compared to the confident and confident performance of 18-year-old Jude Bellingham next to him.

He was much better in the second half, setting up Bukayo Saka’s goal and playing a key role in Jesse Lingard’s second goal from his more familiar position.

The Telegraph’s senior football correspondent Jason Burt wrote: “Southgate will want to learn from every game. The lesson from this was that Alexander-Arnold is not yet ready to play in midfield, and certainly not without first gaining experience with his club. It’s probably not fair. Instead, his challenge must be to fight on the right defensive – which will provoke another debate. “

(Photo by Catherine Ivill / Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Southgate seemed to point this out exactly, and agreed with Carragher’s claim that Alexander-Arnold enjoys a lot more space and time at home in the right defensive channel than in rush hour in the central midfield.

“We wanted to see something and we thought this was a good game to watch,” he said. “In the second half he was clearly in more positions that he felt more comfortable in.

“Although it was often the same positions he was in in the first half but just getting started, he looked happier in that position. That was clear and I think his play with the ball showed that joy. We know he has an outstanding quality with the ball and of course he finds himself in these positions at Liverpool.

“But what was clear in the first half was that there wasn’t a lot of space and finding yourself in those positions, when you get into these positions is different from starting in those positions.”

The man himself has previously insisted that he enjoys the right-back’s “freedom” versus the “chaos” of central midfield and was clear about which footballer he was in preparation for this game.

“I’m a right-back.”