Can Trent Alexander-Arnold become elite in midfield?

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Trent Alexander-Arnold is undoubted one of the best young talents in world football. To elaborate, his is the best right back in world football. It has been questioned as to whether he can take his talent and skill into midfield as his career progresses, but is this the best move for the scouser in our team?

Academy days

Trent Alexander-Arnold playing in Liverpool's academy as a midfielder and captain.

Trent joined the Liverpool academy in 2004, aged 6. He joined the academy as a midfielder and remained a midfielder throughout his time in the academy, whilst also being the captain across the youth ranks.

It wasn’t until he was trying to make his first team breakthrough that he started to learn his trade as a right back. After speaking with the coaching staff, it was suggested that his best route into the first team was at right back, so he made the decision to commit to becoming a full back. What a decision it was…

Therefore, when people question if he could play in midfield, well of course he can! It’s just a matter of being able to play there at this level.

What makes Trent capable of playing in midfield?

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Trent is his excellent passing ability. Racking up midfielders numbers from right back in assists, and always ranked highly for chances created just shows how creative he truly is. Now imagine that passing ability higher up the pitch, and from the centre of the pitch, the sky could be the limit for his creativity.

However, the difference between being a midfielder compared to a right back is time. Midfielders have very little time to make a pass, and to ensure that it is the correct one. As a full back, Trent has much more time to have a look and pick out his pass. Would he be as efficient with less time on the ball? Who knows.

No doubt it would be very interesting to see if it would be a hit or miss, but we dont want his talent at right back to be wasted.

Klopp isn’t buying it

In the recent world cup qualifiers, where England played against Andorra, Gareth Southgate decided to play Trent in midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham.

It wasn’t a mind blowing performance, but wasn’t a poor performance in midfield for Trent. He looked much more comfortable in the second half where he returned to right back. This isn’t to say that he cannot play in midfield, but he needs more exposure to learn how to adapt at this level.

Trent Alexander-Arnold playing in midfield for England against Andorra.

When Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was asked about it, he said “Why would you make the best right-back in the world a midfielder? I don’t understand that really.” He clearly wasn’t a fan of Southgate’s decision. He’s not wrong, because Klopp most likely believes he is wasted in midfield when he has proven himself as the best right back in world football. If that is where he can influence the game, then that is where he should play.

Then again, Southgate has made it very clear that he doubts Trent’s defensive capabilities and doesn’t trust him in defense, as he was omitted from the England squad in April. Not a decision that was taken very well by Liverpool fans, but Trent proved him wrong by displaying an exceptional defensive performance for the remainder of the season, where Liverpool were undefeated for 10 games.

Summary

It’s obvious that Trent definitely has the ability to move into midfield as he becomes more experienced in a few years, as his talent in that position is still raw. Whether he gets the chance to prove himself as a midfielder is unlikely any time soon as Klopp is not keen on the idea. His chance to do so will most likely arrive as Klopp’s reign as Liverpool manager comes to an end, or during his time with England.

I personally believe he would excel as a midfielder and developing in this position will be great for his versatility, and maybe to provide more longevity for his career, similar to James Milner who started his career as a winger.

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Published by Brentton Barrett

a BSc (Hons) degree in Biochemistry, MSc in Pharmaclogy and currenly I am entering the final year of my PhD in Cardiovascular Pharmacology. With science aside, I have always enjoyed writing, so why not write about my alternate passion; sport! BleachSport is my blog which allows me to put science to one side, and express my ideas with those around the world who share the same sporting interests. Born and raised in London, UK with a particular love for football/soccer and the NBA. I am always up for discussions or debates on various sporting topics so if you want to propose a topic or ask something directly, do not hesitate.

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