Pundit claims Liverpool star risks missing out on World Cup after ‘papering over the cracks’

Date published: Sunday 18th September 2022 2:06 - Joe Williams

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold during a match

Danny Mills thinks Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold could struggle to make the England squad for the World Cup.

The Reds wing-back has received a lot of criticism so far this campaign for making a number of mistakes leading to goals, while he has failed to contribute an assist in nine matches this term.

Alexander-Arnold has scored a couple of goals but there is now pressure on him to help out defensively too with Liverpool struggling to keep clean sheets.

Hot take: Jurgen Klopp should play Alexander-Arnold in midfield for Liverpool 

Liverpool had the joint best defence in the Premier League last season with champions Manchester City but there have been several players performing below their best.

And, with the World Cup coming up, former Leeds defender Mills reckons Alexander-Arnold could miss out on Gareth Southgate’s squad if he doesn’t improve his displays.

Mills told The Sun: “There is a real possibility that he doesn’t make the squad. I’ve always been concerned about his defensive ability and that has really come to the fore.

“When on form, going forward he’s exceptional. But that papers over the cracks a bit, especially at Liverpool. You accept his defensive frailty because of what he gives you going forward. But this isn’t about getting out of the group in Qatar.

“This is about the last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, big games against very good teams. We’ve seen that Trent’s defensive capabilities are not always there.”

If he had to choose three full-backs for the World Cup today, Mills says that Man City’s Kyle Walker, Newcastle United’s Kieran Tripper and Chelsea’s Reece James would all be ahead of the Liverpool defender, who was selected in Southgate’s squad for this month’s friendlies.

The former England international added: “As an out and out right-back, Kyle Walker is way better, Kieran Trippier is better. And so is Reece James. That’s three right-backs and do you need to take four? I don’t think you do.

“James can play wing-back, so can Walker if he needs to. Trippier played wing-back at the World Cup four years ago in Russia.

“Everyone goes on about Trent’s delivery in the final third but look at Trippier’s and his set-pieces.

“It’s a toss of the coin between Trent and Trippier for second wing-back. And Trippier can play in other positions that Trent can’t.

“If it was today, I would take Walker, Trippier and James. I think that gives you ample cover and plenty of options.”


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