Trent Alexander-Arnold has used two Man City players to help him adapt to new role

Trent Alexander-Arnold of England in action during the international friendly match between England and Bosnia & Herzegovina at St James' Park on June 03, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
-Credit: (Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

England is molding Trent Alexander-Arnold into an out-and-out midfielder. It has made no secret of its intentions with the Liverpool star.

First, there was the provisional Euros squad announcement, which named Alexander-Arnold among the midfielders. Gareth Southgate then deployed him there in the warm-up match against Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the Liverpool academy graduate sporting the number eight shirt and not even performing the hybrid role that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders have carved out for him at Anfield.

But that hybrid position, which has seen Alexander-Arnold drift into central positions for more than a year now, means that Southgate's plan is not brand new territory for him. And he has previously admitted that two Manchester City stars have been useful in adapting to the task.

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“I have always admired him, I do admire the way Rodri plays," Alexander-Arnold said in November last year, via Yahoo. The Manchester City midfielder is the consummate number six, acting as the anchor in Pep Guardiola's midfield.

“He is pivotal in that team and someone who is massively underrated but like we have seen recently when you take him out of the team, they are not the same," Alexander-Arnold continued. "That just shows how important he is."

Klopp has previously said that if Alexander-Arnold is going to play in midfield with England, it should be as a number six rather than a number eight. Southgate looks set to deploy him in a double pivot, where there will be plenty of similar defensive responsibilities as well as slightly more license to venture forward.

Interestingly, John Stones has also been a point of reference for Alexander-Arnold. He highlighted how the Manchester City defender has pioneered stepping into midfield.

“I enjoy learning about the game, watching things, watching players, different systems, different teams, how different players play it and there are some players who play it really well. I think as someone who plays the inverted, hybrid role – I don’t know what people call it these days – then it is obviously John Stones.

“He is someone who, for a long time, I have admired his game; he is exceptional, so I watch him a lot. Clips or even when I am just watching City’s games, I will sit and focus on him."

Away from current players, Alexander-Arnold also highlighted Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard. With the possible exception of the former Liverpool captain, that gives an insight to England (and indeed Arne Slot) as to how the current vice-captain sees himself: primarily a holding presence, as Klopp said, but with the ability to really dictate the play from deep areas. says: Alexander-Arnold is always striving to improve, so it should come as no surprise that he keeps an eye on the four-in-a-row champions. Rodri, certainly, is among the very best in the world in his role.

As for Stones, he has played an underrated part in Manchester City's success, and it makes sense that Alexander-Arnold in particular would be keeping an eye on a fellow 'hybrid' defender. But with Southgate looking set to use him as an out-and-out midfielder, perhaps he will be leaning more on the lessons he has taken from Rodri and some of the greats of the past.