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Trent Alexander-Arnold addresses midfield role and being dropped as Arne Slot plots Liverpool talks

England and Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Trent Alexander-Arnold has shared his disappointment at losing his England place, insisting he was enjoying playing in midfield for Gareth Southgate.

The Liverpool defender, who has spent the past season and a half predominantly playing as an inverted right-back for the Reds, started Euro 2024 in midfield alongside Declan Rice. However, he was dropped after being withdrawn early in both of the Three Lions’ opening games against Serbia and Denmark.

Utilised as a late substitute at right-back in England’s final group-outing against Slovenia, the 25-year-old was then left unused for the round-of-16 extra-time victory over Slovakia. However, he bounced back to score the winning penalty in the Three Lions’ shoot-out win over Switzerland in the quarter-finals.

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Debate regarding Alexander-Arnold’s long-term position has dogged the defender throughout his senior career, as Jurgen Klopp persisted with him as a full-back despite outside calls to push him into midfield. Incoming head coach Arne Slot has since confirmed that he already knows where he intends to field the England international for Liverpool, but intends to talk privately to his vice-captain first before sharing such information publicly.

Assessing his European Championship so far, Alexander-Arnold conceded it had been difficult playing in an unfamiliar midfield position. But while disappointed at losing his place, he insists he still has a big role to play at the tournament.

“Of course I would have liked to keep my position in the team and be starting every game,” he admitted to reporters. “But the manager has made decisions and I respect his decisions.

“And they have worked - we are still in the competition. We are looking forward to a semi-final. No matter what, the team always comes first and you have to buy into that to give the team the best chance possible and be ready for your moment whenever that comes.‌

“I'll give everything I've got, like I've done so far. Try and learn and improve and do everything I'm asked to do as much as I can. But it is difficult when you're not playing there week in and week out for your club. It is probably a different role for me, but it's one that I enjoyed learning and I enjoyed playing.

“There’s no negative vibes or energy around any of the decisions. You’ve got to be ready for the moment when it comes and the other day I epitomised that more than anything.”

He continued: “I think the journey I've been on throughout football so far has taken me to ups and downs. My high moments and low moments and it's in those times that you realise what you can put yourself through mentally and overcome.

“So whatever the game throws at me now I feel like I'm in a position to deal with it and be able to perform and do the best in whatever role that is. So for me there is no pressure, there is no feeling of the mentality.

"The mentality is to help the team win the game so when the manager tells me that you're coming on with five or six minutes to go then I know my role, know what I need to do and my mindset is in the right place no matter what.

“As a player, all 26 of us want to play as many minutes as we can. Obviously that isn’t possible, so the manager has to pick a team and we all respect his decisions. No matter how many minutes you play and when you get on the pitch, you have a role to play.

“We all buy into that and we have bought into that from the very beginning. No matter what role you play, you earn your medal. You see that togetherness in the group.

“I think for me it’s all part and parcel of football. The game takes you on a journey.”

Meanwhile, Alexander-Arnold is looking forward to locking horns with Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk in the Euro 2024 semi-finals with England set to face the Netherlands on Wednesday night for a place in the final four.

The Reds vice-captain had not spoken to the Dutchman ahead of the game, though admitting he might get in touch to wish his club team-mate a happy birthday, as Van Dijk celebrated turning 33 on Monday.

But despite training with the centre-back on a daily basis, Alexander-Arnold admitted he can offer little advice to England’s attackers as to how to get the better of Van Dijk.

“The quality he has got, I think anyone who has watched him play, at club level or for his national team, will say how good a player he is,” he said. “So he has not got many weaknesses.

“I don’t know that I can be of much help to our attacking players but we have got to get past him and get past them to reach a final.”