Should Trent Alexander-Arnold be selected for the European championships in the summer?
By Harry Woodward
England, who finished top of their qualifying group comprehensively, will compete in European championship in the summer of 2021. England hope to break new ground and win the competition for the first time ever. England to many, are put to high regard for this competition and some predict England to venture far from group stages into the knockout rounds. England will rely on their depth in quality, especially in the attacking third of the pitch with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden possibly leading the line of attack, England definitely pack a massive punch when striding forward. However, one key area in which there have been many disputes is the right back position, England are undoubtably blessed in the right back position, with plenty of promising and already well-established right backs ready to be selected for the national team. This position has been hassled in debate due to the dropping of Liverpool’s right back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who for many is England’s number one right back and one of the best right backs in world football. This dispute therefore proceeds the question: does Trent Alexander-Arnold get selected for the European championships in the summer?
Firstly, we will discuss each player in contention of being called up for the Euros in the summer. The first player in contention with a spot in the 23-man England squad will be Alexander-Arnold himself. Alexander-Arnold has had a fairly adequate season compared to his usual high performances that made him one of the most established right backs in the world. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s dip in form can be equated to the injuries and sudden losses of Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, this dominant centre back pairing allowed Trent to venture forward into the attacking phase more often, however with this partnership evaded, Alexander-Arnold has had to do more defending and as a result many pundits have questioned his defensive Attributes, with some pundits criticising his defensive duties as a direct correlation to why Liverpool are underperforming this season. However, Alexander-Arnold recent performances have provided a strong case to be called back up for the England squad. Trent Alexander-Arnold has accumulated 1 goal and 4 assist this season and of recent times Trent has secured multiple clean sheets and performed valiantly defensively. Alexander-Arnold has been a shining light in recent performances for Liverpool and displayed good performances in the champions league against RB Leipzieg and in the premier league vs Arsenal.
However, Alexander-Arnold will have strong competition for the right back position. The first contender to compete is Manchester city’s kyle Walker. For the last few years Kyle walker has been the notorious right back for England starting in both qualifiers against Albania and Poland and was the starting right back at the last euros in 2016. Kyle walker has solidified himself for man city, playing 21 games this season. Walker has obtained a goal and an assist during this campaign and has been a key compatriot to the excellent defence Man City have had this season, as a result Kyle Walker will be a front runner to being selected for the euros squad and tipped to be picked for the starting right back during the tournament.
The next contender to candidate a spot in the England squad is Chelsea’s Reece James. Reece James has been formidable on the right side of Chelsea’s defence. Recent performances for Chelsea have resulted in Gareth Southgate picking him in the absences of Trent Alexander-Arnold, however Reece James performances for England have come with scrutiny, especially after the fullback was sent off during a nations league game against Denmark, which ultimately ended in defeat. Although during this Premier League campaign, Reece James has accumulated one goal from right back and has awarded his team with two assists. Reece James attacking stats are significantly less than Trent Alexander-Arnold. however, James’s strengths are his versatility as he can play right back and right wing back and also hold key components of a strong defensive right back, which has allowed Chelsea to secure 7 clean sheets this season.
The Next right back whom has a claim to an England call up is Kieran Trippier, who plays his football for Atletico Madrid. Trippier is arguably one of the most experience right backs that could feature for England as he played right back for England during the world cup in 2018 and scored a sublime free kick in the semi-finals. Trippier is also versatile, as he can play right back, right wing back and left back, with left back being the position Trippier has played in most recently. Nevertheless, Tripper has had a lack of first team opportunities at Atletico Madrid due to ban that was given to him for betting. As a result, Trippier can be seen as a right back that has not hit form yet compared to the other right backs in contention. So far this season he has played 20 games and within those 200 games he has produced six assists. This is the highest number of assists registered for an English right back and shows the strength of Trippier’s attacking play.
Out of these contenders, Trent Alexander-Arnold has a strong case of being called up for the national team. This could be due to his recent form that have produced productive displays for Liverpool in the Champions League and in the Premier league. Trent over recent years has established himself as one of the best right backs, if not the best right back in the world and therefore England may be considered dubious and manic if they do not take him to the euros. Trent has key component that England could utilise especially in the attacking phase, this could be beneficial especially in the group stage where England will play teams Like Scotland and will be expected to dominate the game and therefore England can then use Trent’s attacking specialities to ensure that England win their games and proceed through the tournament.