Roy Keane and Gary Neville agree as 'ripped to shreds' verdict issued about Liverpool ace

Roy Keane looks on prior to the Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Coventry City and Manchester United at Wembley.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

It wouldn't be an international tournament unless there was a debate heading into England's opening game about where to play the country's most gifted player, though Gareth Southgate appears to have made up his mind.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to play alongside Declan Rice in a double pivot for England in its opening match against Serbia but both Gary Neville and Roy Keane are in agreement about the Liverpool man. The ex-Manchester United duo have insisted that the Scouser can't play in the middle of the pitch against the better sides.

Despite the Reds' number 66 having won the Premier League and the Champions League playing as a full-back, Southgate appears to have decided that Alexander-Arnold will not be featuring there for the Three Lions. Instead, he will be a central midfielder amid a constant stream of noise about his defending.

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Alexander-Arnold did play in the center of the field during his time as an academy player at Liverpool but has never consistently done so at senior level. As a result, Neville and Keane believe that he will begin the European Championship playing in the center — but the switch won't last.

"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," Neville said live on ITV Sport. "But as the tournament goes on, I don't think it will remain that way — other players will come into the fold.

"What Trent playing there does is basically allow Kyle Walker to stay back almost as a third center-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."

Fellow pundit Keane was in agreement. "It's all about getting the balance right in the team," he said. "They have players who can go and win you football matches but it's the proper defending against the really better teams.

"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 center of midfield, he will be ripped to shreds. I don't think he will be up to it." says: Alexander-Arnold has won the lot playing as a full-back but still his defending is criticized extensively. While he isn't perfect, no one else gets the same level of scrutiny that he does. Arne Slot has a decision to make about where to field him but the success of the experiment in Germany could be instructive about what happens next.