Stuart Pearce believes Liverpool man can unlock Declan Rice for England at Euro 2024

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Stuart Pearce believes Trent Alexander-Arnold’s ability on the ball could be vital in unlocking Declan Rice in England’s midfield at Euro 2024.

The Liverpool full-back looks set to start in the middle alongside his Arsenal counterpart in the Three Lions’ tournament opener against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday evening.

Of course, it isn’t Alexander-Arnold’s natural position, but it is a role he’s filled with success before for England, while he also plays an inverted full-back role for Liverpool, allowing him to control games centrally with his exceptional passing skills.

  • Key stat: Trent Alexander-Arnold completed more through-balls (9) than any other Liverpool player in the Premier League in 2023/24.

It’s this side of his game that Pearce believes could be key in getting the most out of Rice for England, with the Arsenal man often having to play a more defensive role at international level than he does for his club.

“Dec can do a bit of everything. I think even on the show tonight we might even talk about if there is a role in this tournament for Declan to play further up the pitch like he does for Arsenal,” Pearce told talkSPORT.

“I think he can offer a lot more but the balance has got to be right and if he’s got Trent in there, getting the balance right, he’s got to be the quarterback with his passing range.”

Alexander-Arnold the new Hoddle for England?

There are those who will accuse Gareth Southgate of accommodating Alexander-Arnold, with the Liverpool man facing fierce competition from the likes of Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier at right-back.

Those accusations will be even louder if England fail to beat Serbia on Sunday, especially with natural midfielders like Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo and Adam Wharton in the squad.

But Pearce believes Alexander-Arnold’s technical prowess could see him play a similar role for England as Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle; a player who faced similar criticisms as Alexander-Arnold regarding his defensive ability.

“I probably liken him to, when I first broke into the England squad, Glenn Hoddle,” Pearce added.

“Glenn probably had one or two question marks about his defensive work but what he could do with the ball at his feet was magnificent – Trent is very similar.”

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