Trent Alexander-Arnold: My England performances have been mediocre

Trent Alexander-Arnold says his recent England performances have been “mediocre” and has not done enough to justify a regular place in the starting line-up.

Trent Alexander-Arnold says his recent England performances have been “mediocre” and has not done enough to justify a regular place in the starting line-up.

The Liverpool right-back was dropped from the Three Lions squad in March and although he was included in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad, a thigh injury in a warm-up game against Austria caused him to miss the tournament.

Now fit again, Alexander-Arnold is back in the international fold and is hoping to do enough to force his way back into Southgate’s starting XI.

Alexander-Arnold made his England debut against Costa Rica in a World Cup warm-up in June 2018 and went on to feature at the tournament itself in Russia.

He has earned 13 caps to date, scoring once, but believes his Three Lions form has dipped significantly since a penalty shootout victory over Switzerland in the Nations League third-place play-off in June 2019.

“I thought I played really well then, I just couldn’t hit the ground running after that,” he told the Telegraph. “Otherwise, they have been mediocre performances by my standard, and that’s what I need to improve.”

Such an admission may come as a surprise to Liverpool fans, who have seen the 22-year-old make the right-back position his own and help the club win the Premier League and Champions League titles in recent years.

However, unlike at Anfield, Alexander-Arnold faces intense competition at the international level, with Reece James, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier all at Southgate’s disposal – something the defender sees as a challenge.

“I would say there is a lot more competition for places here,” added the defender, who is hoping to feature in Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra at Wembley. “At the club, I am a regular who plays most of the games. I think it is just not finding form and finding the level I need and the level I demand on a daily basis. I have just not been able to reach that bar.

“You’re playing a different system [with England], with different players. It’s no excuse, but it’s hard to find your feet, to find form when you’re not playing in a team with the same players every time. Anyone is going to have difficulties with that.

“I feel like since I’ve come into the squad, I haven’t really been the best version of myself. I haven’t put in the performances I have regularly for my club and I expect more for myself when I play for England. Hopefully, over the next week, I am given an opportunity to perform and am able to take it.

“I want to win trophies [with England] I want to become a regular. I want to lead the team out. And I think those things are achievable for me.”

Alexander-Arnold’s attacking instincts have led some to suggest he could move up the pitch and play on the right-wing in the future, particularly with England given the competition he faces at right-back.

The defender has never played in that position for Liverpool, though he is very much a forward-thinking full-back and is ready to play there if selected.

“I am a right-back. I have played that my whole career and I have not really stepped out of it too much,” he said. “In big games in the Premier League I haven’t been thrown in there [midfield], so it’s tough to say that, yeah, I would be able to handle it. You never know.

“I just try to play football. I try to help the team as much as I can, try to get forward and influence the game, create chances and hurt the opposition. Whether I find myself out wide or inside on the ball, it doesn’t matter. I want to hurt the opposition and break them down.

“Essentially there are only two people’s opinions that can change that and that is both the managers I play for. They are the ones who will make the decision.”

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