Neville queries whether Southgate can trust ‘rash’ Alexander-Arnold at World Cup

Former England defender Gary Neville is not convinced Gareth Southgate will be able to trust “rash” Trent Alexander-Arnold in the heat of World Cup battle.

Southgate names his squad for Qatar on Thursday with a debate raging over his options at right-back as a result of the Liverpool man’s lack of form and injuries to Reece James and Kyle Walker, leaving Kieran Trippier in pole position.

Neville is a fan of Alexander-Arnold as an attacking force, but is not sure he could start in a knockout game when the stakes are at their highest.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Trent Alexander-Arnold (left) had a testing time against Tottenham on Sunday (Adam Davy/PA)

Speaking after Liverpool’s 2-1 Premier League win at Tottenham on Sunday, the former Manchester United full-back told Sky Sports: “At this moment in time, I can’t see how Gareth could go into a knockout game of a World Cup playing Trent Alexander-Arnold.

“I want this player to be the greatest right-back of all time because he’s got the ability to do that, but today at times again, he looked like he could cost Liverpool dearly.

“He does rash things. In a World Cup, there would have been a penalty against him today and in a second phase or a quarter-final, he’s given a goal away.

England manager Gareth Southgate (left) must decide whether to take Trent Alexander-Arnold to the World Cup
England manager Gareth Southgate (left) must decide whether to take Trent Alexander-Arnold to the World Cup (Tim Goode/PA)

“I don’t think Gareth will trust him in a knockout game, which means will he then take him? He’s got four brilliant right-backs also potentially to go.”

Alexander-Arnold endured another a testing afternoon in north London, but Neville’s fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp backed the 24-year-old’s claims on selection.

Former Liverpool and England midfielder Redknapp said: “What you’ve got to look at is who can do something special? Who can win you a game?

“Reece James and Kyle Walker right now are under pressure because of their injuries. If they’re not going to be fit, do you really want to take that risk?

“Trent, I get, is not in great form. There were times today when he was in a tumble-dryer, he was getting thrown around everywhere. But I’m just thinking about the flip-side of it, who can do something incredible with a football, and he can.”

Southgate has already signalled his concern over Alexander-Arnold’s defensive work, but Neville believes he could still take him to Qatar to play him as a “joker” from the bench in times of need.

Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville (right) and Jamie Redknapp
Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville (right) and Jamie Redknapp gave their views on Trent Alexander-Arnold (John Walton/PA)

He said: “Reece James, if he’s fit, he’s definitely taking. Kyle Walker, if he’s fit, he’s definitely taking because he can play right-back in a back four and he can play on the right of a three.

“I think Ben White has to go because of his flexibility to play right of a back three and right of a back four. Trippier will always go because Gareth loves him and Gareth will think he can potentially play him at left wing-back and left-back.

“So you’re then talking about does Gareth want to take Trent Alexander-Arnold as a ‘joker’, if England need a goal. He won’t start him, I don’t think, but will he take him as that person to bring off the bench if England need a goal?

“That is the decision Gareth has to make.”