Gary Neville believes Trent Alexander-Arnold is “the equal of” Kevin De Bruyne in terms of his attacking qualities, and he can be the “very best right-back of all time”.
Alexander-Arnold has proven he’s one of the best providers in world football to this point in his career. Indeed, that’s highlighted by the fact he’s almost broken into the top 30 assisters in Premier League history.
He’s got to that point in just over seven seasons, playing in defence. There are few defenders who can do what he can going forwards, and former Premier League right-back Neville feels that means he can go on to be the best ever in his position.
He was speaking after Liverpool drew 1-1 with Manchester City – a game in which Alexander-Arnold scored – and likened his qualities to Citizens star De Bruyne, who has the fourth-most assists in Premier League history.
“This is a sensational football player, a striker of a ball that you just don’t see. City had a player injured today, Kevin De Bruyne, who is world class in terms of delivery and striking of a ball and his passing – Trent Alexander-Arnold is the equal of him,” Neville said on Sky Sports
“I have to say, he keeps going, he always plays, his performances on the ball are absolutely out of this world.
“He’s playing central midfield for 50, 60 per cent of it, he’s going forward scoring goals, he’s setting up goals and assists and achieving numbers that right wingers and right-midfield players don’t achieve.
“He’s got the material to be the very best right-back of all time.”
In order to do that, Neville feels the Liverpool man has to show a level of improvement in his defending, which he doesn’t feel should actually be that hard given what he can already do.
“All he has to be as a defender is semi-competent, he doesn’t have to be the best right-back in the world defensively, you don’t expect him to be [Cesar] Azpilicueta, who’s the opposite – real good defensive right-back,” Neville added.
“But what he does have to be is not a liability, and there have been times in the last three or four years where that has been a standout feature of Liverpool’s big games, where he’s been too easy to beat and too easy to get at.
“He will need to, when Liverpool and England are under the cosh, be a resilient, tough defensive player as well – that’s something I think he can add to his game.
“I don’t give up on the fact that he can be a very good defender, I think defending is not that difficult to learn compared to that bit in his game that he has got.”