Arne Slot knows exactly what to do with Trent Alexander-Arnold after England's dull Slovenia draw

Trent Alexander-Arnold was used by Gareth Southgate in midfield for England's first two Euro 2024 games.
-Credit: (Image: 2024 Getty Images)

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has endured a tough Euro 2024 thus far. Alexander-Arnold, after months of discussion about where is his best position for England, was utilised in central midfield by Gareth Southgate in the first two group stage games.

Alexander-Arnold was positioned alongside Declan Rice in a 4-2-3-1 system, with the Liverpool man tasked with using his world-class passing ability to help open up the opposition and retain possession. In games against Serbia and Denmark, we saw flashes of the Alexander-Arnold that Liverpool fans see on a regular basis at Anfield. He demonstrated his long-range passing a few times, but it has to be said it wasn't the greatest performances of his career, which was understandable as he wasn't playing in a role that comes naturally to him.

For England's third game of the group stage against Slovenia, Alexander-Arnold was dropped by Southgate, with Chelsea's Conor Gallagher coming in to play alongside Rice. Yet the outcome was the same: another disjointed England performance. In fact, it could be argued England looked brighter when Alexander-Arnold came on - at right-back - and was given the freedom to drift slightly from position and play long balls over the top of the opposition defense.

READ MORE: Gary Neville just hit nail on the head with Trent Alexander-Arnold after England snub

READ MORE: Paul Scholes aims brutal dig over England boss' Gareth Southgate's Trent Alexander-Arnold call

England laboured to a dull goalless draw with Slovenia, but still managed to top the group, and thus will avoid many of the bigger sides in Spain, Germany, France and Portugal, who are all on the one side of the draw for the round of 16. This will be a huge sigh of relief for Southgate as, on current form England likely wouldn't emerge victorious against any of the aforementioned sides.

Yet it was also fairly evident that Alexander-Arnold should be perhaps implemented in his natural role for England, at right-back. There is a reason why Jürgen Klopp, a man who has achieved a lot more in the game than Southgate has, never really considered playing Alexander-Arnold in the middle of the park. Klopp recognised that Alexander-Arnold is at his best when he has most of the pitch in front of him.

How many times have we seen the 25-year-old ping 60-yard diagonal passes into the feet of Liverpool's left-winger, or reproduce the same kind of ball straight down the line to Mohamed Salah? It's impossible to replicate such a pass when you're halfway up the pitch, and it becomes more difficult when there's no one running in behind, which has been a major issue for England at this tournament.

As good as Kyle Walker is, he doesn't offer what Alexander-Arnold does going forward, yet Walker's speed and ability to win defensive duels is the main reason Southgate persists with him at Alexander-Arnold's expense. Yet against lesser opposition, giving Alexander-Arnold the chance to showcase his creativity should be a realistic alternative. England haven't exactly faced stern opposition at Euro 2024 so far, and the time to experiment with Alexander-Arnold should've been now, but in the position he's played week in, week out for Liverpool for the past seven years.

Moreover, England didn't play any better without Alexander-Arnold in midfield against Slovenia, with the Liverpool man not seeing a single minute on the pitch, proving that he wasn't the issue to begin with. This also means Liverpool's new coach Arne Slot isn't under any pressure to play him in midfield next season, and he can keep him at right-back. Yet it does likely mean Slot needs a new defensive midfielder this summer as competition for Wataru Endō