Football News

“He’s Beckham and De Bruyne at right-back” — Gary Neville hails Alexander-Arnold the best passing No. 2 he’s ever seen

By Ben Green

Published: 10:26, 14 September 2021

Gary Neville has described Liverpool and England right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold as a hybrid of David Beckham and Kevin De Bruyne.

The 22-year-old Liverpudlian has started the new season like a house on fire, already creating more chances than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues (20).

His laser-guided cross set up Mohamed Salah in the 3-0 win over Leeds United on Sunday to help secure the Egyptian’s 100th Premier League goal.

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By doing so, Salah became only the second African player to register triple digits in the division, joining Chelsea legend Didier Drogba in that department (104).

The win also maintained Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the campaign and ensured they remain level on points with early table-toppers Manchester United.

Alexander-Arnold’s performances have been crucial in that run during these formative stages, with the 14-capped England international rediscovering his 2019/20 form.

The attacking full-back came in for criticism last campaign as Liverpool’s form fell off a cliff and their title defence ended with a whimper, as Manchester City cruised to reclaim the trophy from Anfield.

However, he is now once again looking like the player who made the 2019/20 PFA Team of the Year, won the PFA Young Player of the Year that season and received a 2019 Ballon d’Or nomination, with Neville likening him to Beckham and De Bruyne.

“He’s the best passer of a ball at right-back that I’ve ever seen,” Neville said on Sky Sports‘ Monday Night Football.

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“He’s David Beckham and Kevin De Bruyne at right-back. I loved him against Leeds. He was breathtaking.”

Although Alexander-Arnold has garnered a reputation as an serial assist provider, famously breaking the record twice for most assists by a defender across a single season in the Premier League (12 in 2018/19 and 13 in 2019/20), Neville does not believe the No.2 should be tested in midfield.

It has long been an argument among pundits and fans that Alexander-Arnold would make an exceptional midfield playmaker, given his passing range and the rate at which he sets up his team-mates, with Gareth Southgate recently deploying him further up the field in England’s 4-0 win over Andorra.

Gary Lineker recently broached the idea that Alexander-Arnold could make the transition similar to Joshua Kimmich and Philipp Lahm, stating that “he should be playing, like he did as a kid, in midfield,” but Neville turned his back on the suggestion.

“The midfield thing is a no-go for me,” Neville continued.

“I think Southgate had 10 players he had to get into the game against Andorra and Reece James went to right-back and he went to midfield, I think that was temporary.”