Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold is “a better passer than David Beckham’, according to Joe Cole in his post-match analysis following Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Benfica midweek.
Despite regarding Beckham as “the best that I’ve seen in my generation”, Cole was running out of superlatives to describe the passing and crossing display by Alexander-Arnold as they defeated Benfica. Cole then went on to present the selection headache that may continue for Gareth Southgate regarding England’s selection for the upcoming World Cup and in competitions to come, “the problem we’ve got, is we’ve also got Reece James”, Cole said, advocating the Chelsea player’s selection.
“It doesn’t matter who’s better than who, what does matter is that both of them are on the pitch in some kind of system… you cannot leave one of them out”.
The full-back position is evolving. In today’s game, we now possess the likes of Alexander Arnold, Robertson, Cancelo, and Alphonso Davies amongst others, who are now technicians of the game and engine-rooms of their respective sides, spraying passes, driving forward, and overlapping to create another dimension to modern-day offensive football, yet still offer something on the defensive end.
It wouldn’t be farfetched to present a case for Trent Alexander Arnold to be one of, if not, the best full-back currently in world football, yet omitting the likes of Reece James from England contention seems farcical. Cole went on to specular whether one of the two players might be utilised out of position, “can he [Trent] play in midfield? Can we find the system for him where he rotates with Reece James?”. I’d argue yes. With Southgate often favouring a ‘back-five’ I’d argue there’s scope for Reece James to be utilised on the right side of centre-back, similarly to how Kyle Walker played throughout the 2018 World Cup.