Trent Alexander-Arnold is on a “different level” to Kieran Trippier and should be starting at right-back for England, that is according to Noel Whelan.
The Liverpool man was left out of the Three Lions starting 11 for both Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria recently, with Gareth Southgate instead opting to play the Atletico Madrid man.
But former striker Whelan can’t understand this decision, insisting that Alexander-Arnold should be one of the first names on the team sheet for England.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: “I can’t believe it. Kieran Trippier is a fine right-back and is playing regularly at a big club but Alexander-Arnold is on a different level. He’s one of the best in the world.
“He is an exceptional talent, an astonishing player. He is young and makes mistakes, but he is fearless. That is a great quality for someone so young playing at such a high level.
“He would be first on the team sheet, for me. I’m stunned he’s on the bench.
“The Premier League is also a tougher league than La Liga and he is better than Trippier. You have to look at the fact he is starting every game for the European champions who have won every match this season.”
When you look at the performances of Alexander-Arnold over the last 18 months or so, then you definitely have to say that Whelan has a point.
The Liverpool man has arguably been one of the best right-backs in the world recently. Last season he was outstanding as he helped the Reds finish second in the Premier League and win the Champions League, particularly in an attacking sense as he contributed 16 assists in all competitions (via Transfermarkt).
Added to that he also was part of a defence which conceded just 22 times in the league in 2018/19, the fewest of any club including champions Manchester City. Alexander-Arnold also started in 15 league games in which Liverpool kept clean sheets last term.
He has taken his good form into this season too, helping the Reds to two clean sheets and eight wins in the Premier League, scoring once and proving two assists (via Transfermarkt).
By contrast, Trippier really struggled last season and only racked up five assists in all competitions compared to Alexander-Arnold’s 16. By the end of the campaign he wasn’t a regular for Tottenham, starting just two of their last six Premier League matches.
He was ultimately dropped by England for the UEFA Nations League finals in June due to his poor performances for Spurs.
Whilst he has started to play better this season at Atletico Madrid, featuring in five La Liga games in which they have kept clean sheets, it seems strange that he has suddenly gone back above the consistently excellent Alexander-Arnold in the England pecking order.
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