England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed the influence Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has had on full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The 20-year-old has quickly risen to the top of English football and was the Three Lions’ best performer as they beat Switzerland on penalties to finish third in the Uefa Nations League.
How has Klopp helped Alexander-Arnold? Five key things to know…
- Trent Alexander-Arnold made his Liverpool debut in 2016.
- Since then, the right-back has made 85 appearances for the Reds’ first team.
- The 20-year-old was a key player as Liverpool won the Champions League last season.
- And Southgate believes Klopp’s faith in the young star has been key for his development.
- Alexander-Arnold (15) recorded more assists than any other Liverpool player last season.
Alexander-Arnold created six chances in the goalless draw, which England won on penalties, four more than any other player.
The right-back’s crossing caused serious problems for the Swiss defence and it was only due to poor attacking runs that Alexander-Arnold did not add another assist to end his fantastic season.
And Southgate believes Liverpool manager Klopp has had a big role in Alexander-Arnold’s development.
“I went to the States with him when he was Under-17 a few years ago, he’s a lovely kid,” he said.
“He’s very proud of his roots and he’s given a lot to his own community as well. He’s matured in that time.
“He got sent off in that tournament. When he was younger he had lapses of that. He’s 20 years old, played in two Champions League finals, it’s an amazing start.
“His manager’s shown great faith in him to put him in the team at Liverpool, kept him in the team when he’s had a few difficult moments.
“That faith’s been repaid, he knows the quality he brings and the way Liverpool like to play by turning teams and the quality of his forward passing in behind opposition is a huge asset for them. He’s, like all young players, been great that he has a manager with that faith in him.”
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Southgate: There is still room for improvement
Alexander-Arnold’s performances for Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League saw the 20-year-old already being mentioned as one of the best right-backs in the world. Across both competitions, the Englishman recorded 15 assists, more than any other Liverpool player.
But despite the high praise, Southgate believes Alexander-Arnold can still improve as a right-back.
“There’s still a bit to do defensively on positioning and awareness but he’s had some fantastic experiences already in a very short career,” he added.
“He’s heading in a really good trajectory. He’s his own player. His technique for his crossing is fantastic. In training yesterday he wandered down the other end of the training pitch with a bag of balls, put one down.
“They had a wall up, he whipped it round the wall into the top corner then just walked off.
“So we said: ‘OK, a bit of pressure training.’ He’s got great belief in his delivery. When he was taking his corners, actually, there was too much (whip) on them. But it’s a great asset to have.”