'I want to influence a generation' – Alexander-Arnold on using his platform to promote equality

Goal.com

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold wants to use his profile to promote greater equality in society and would view his career as a failure if he didn’t do so, regardless of his achievements on the pitch.

The Premier League has played its part in trying to combat racism this week, with players’ shirts displaying "Black Lives Matter" across the back instead of their own names.

Players, officials, and coaches have also all taken the knee immediately prior to kick-off, a powerful gesture beamed to millions of people watching on TV across the world.

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Alexander-Arnold, who joined his Liverpool team-mates in taking the knee before a training session at Anfield earlier this month, says he is fortunate to have not experienced racism directly during his life, but that doesn’t mean he is not affected by those who have been abused.

The Liverpool defender says education is key to eradicating racism from society and wants to use his profile to do his bit by influencing youngsters who see him as their role model.

“Racism as a whole is not only the person that it is directed to,” he told BT Sport. “Just because I haven’t been directly racially abused doesn’t mean I haven’t felt racially abused, I feel the pain they feel. It’s a community feeling, if you say it to one person, you say it to everyone.

“Maybe I put pressure on myself because I know that's the right thing to do. It’s what I believe in. I want to make sure I’m educating people and be a role model. I've got a big platform, I know a lot of kids look up to me.

"It's not just about being a role model on the pitch. I want to be someone who feels as though I've made a change in the way that people think.

“At the end of my career I want to look back that I influenced a generation, someone who made a change in the way people think.

"If I get through my career and I haven't done that then I'd see that as a failure on my part."

Liverpool Black Lives Matter
Liverpool Black Lives Matter

Though he is fully behind the symbolic gestures made by the Premier League this week, Alexander-Arnold thinks much more can be done on a practical level to ensure greater equality in the game, particularly off the pitch among coaching staff and boardrooms.

“There's not enough equality within the system,” he added. “For that to change we need black people in the boardrooms, we need people in there with a voice.

"We need equality from physios and kitmen, all the way up into the boardroom. We need everyone to have an opportunity.

“If two people are evenly deserving of a job, more times than not it will go to the white person, maybe subconsciously it happens.

“No one is asking to be given freebies. We want everyone to have an equal opportunity so when you are going into an interview you feel as though you are being judged on the right things. Not your skin colour or where you’re from, you are judged on your CV and how good a coach you are.”

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