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Jamie Carragher opposes Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney on Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher
-Credit: (Image: Sky Sports News)


Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to perform better in midfield for England than at full-back as the Three Lions' Euro 2024 campaign begins this evening.

It is widely expected that Gareth Southgate will choose to play Arsenal's Declan Rice alongside Alexander-Arnold in the centre of the pitch for the clash with Serbia in Gelsenkirchen. However, these suggestions were met with heavy criticism from former Manchester United captains Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney.

Evaluating the England squad on Saturday night, Neville told ITV Sport: "Against Serbia, they're going to play deep and we're going to need to find a way to cut them open, so I can see why Trent in there works for this particular match. But as the tournament goes on, I don't think it will remain that way — other players will come into the fold.

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"What Trent playing there does is basically allow Kyle Walker to stay back almost as a third centre-back. Trent can go out to the right-hand side then and deliver, almost like a right-back. I can see why it works but I'm not sure it will be the solution as the tournament moves on."

Keane was more critical though, adding: "It's all about getting the balance right in the team. They will be fine in the group — Trent will be fine in those matches. But against the really top teams, I think he will be found out very much so.

"I think if he plays against one of the better teams in the centre of midfield, he will be ripped to shreds. I don't think he will be up to it."

Rooney added to the discourse while a guest on The Overlap. "Defensively, he's all over the place," he explained.

"He can't defend. I wouldn't have him anywhere near the middle of the pitch.

"I'd have no problem with playing him here [at right-back]. I think in here [midfield], I wouldn't have him anywhere near there."

But when asked for his thoughts on Sky Sports News, Carragher was quick to disagree with his punditry colleagues and instead offered a theory as to why Alexander-Arnold will benefit more by playing in midfield. "I just think that Trent is that good a player you have got to find a place for him in the team and that happens at different levels of football," he argued.

"Sometimes a player has that much quality you can’t have him sitting on the bench and England have a big hole in midfield. Trent, I wouldn’t say he is not a midfield player but he is 50 per cent a midfield player.

"He plays in midfield when Liverpool have the ball, we know a lot of teams do that now when the full-back goes into midfield. What you have got to understand is that international football is almost like a completely different sport to Premier League football.

"The pace of the game is so much slower and I think that will help Trent and I think his quality on the ball just has to be in that team. I don’t agree with Gary (Neville), Roy (Keane) or Wayne (Rooney) who have questioned his defensive capabilities.

"You might have a problem if Trent was playing against Germany and Jamal Musiala is running at him but when you talk about Trent I think playing him in midfield alleviates some of those problems that he might get at right-back defensively."