Gary Neville’s thoughts on Trent Alexander at the world cup

With England manager Gareth Southgate naming his World Cup squad on Thursday, it remains unclear whether Liverpool defender Alexander-Arnold will be on the plane to Qatar.

The full spectrum of Alexander-Arnold’s strengths and weaknesses, from raking diagonal passes to toiling one-on-one battles with Ryan Sessegnon and Ivan Perisic, were displayed in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at Tottenham on Sunday.

Neville believes Alexander-Arnold has the attributes to become the greatest right-back the game has ever seen but all of that potential is outweighed by glaring defensive deficiencies, which could affect his World Cup inclusion.

“But we’re talking about knockout football. Whether England win or lose in a World Cup is going to be down to moments. A mistake – concentration. In this moment in time, I can’t see how Gareth can go into a knockout game in a World Cup playing Trent Alexander-Arnold.

“I want this player to be the greatest right-back of all time because he’s got the ability to do that. But at times at Tottenham, he looked like he could cost Liverpool dearly.

Neville believes Alexander-Arnold could be included in Southgate’s 26-man squad as a ‘joker in the pack’, a player who does not start but provides an option if England need a goal.


“I look at the right-back list,” Neville added. “If Reece James is fit you definitely take him. Kyle Walker if he’s fit. I think Ben White has to go because of his flexibility to play right-back, or in a back three. Trippier will always go because Gareth loves him.


“Does Gareth want to take Trent as a joker if England need a goal? He won’t start him, but will he take him as someone to bring off the bench if England need a goal? That’s the decision Gareth has to make.

“We shouldn’t really be sitting there on Thursday saying ‘how’s he not in?’. With the number of players you can take, everyone we think will be in, should be in.

“The big situations that are developing are Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Kieran Trippier, Ben White. And the other one is James Maddison – who is in great form.”