Date published: Thursday 15th October 2020 9:55
Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Alex Scott disagree over the best way to use Trent Alexander-Arnold for England.
Alexander-Arnold has struggled to replicate his Liverpool form on the international stage, his 12 caps comprising ten starts, only two of which have been in consecutive games.
Ashley Cole feels Alexander-Arnold is playing in the wrong position for his country, but Redknapp has gone one further by suggesting he be deployed in central midfield.
“I’ll throw one out here now, what if we were to play Trent Alexander-Arnold in that midfield position? Get him on that right side. He could play there easily,” Redknapp told Sky Sports.
“I’m reshaping the team: you could play Declan Rice at the back, Reece James at right wing-back, Trent there.
“I think get him on that right-hand side with his quality, his defence, his athleticism. Then you can get both in the team.
“What I’m trying to see with this England team is getting good players in central positions.
“That position there, Kevin De Bruyne operates in that area because he knows there’s a space that gets vacated for someone like him to do his magic.
“Because he’s got such a good brain, Trent, he could play there. Right-backs are so clever now with what they do they can play any position on the pitch. They see the cross, they can see the pass as well.
“With Trent’s ability as a right-back, it might not actually suit him as a right wing-back.
“I was talking to Ashley Cole the other day and said, ‘surely you’d have loved to play as a wing-back’ and he said ‘no, I wouldn’t have liked it. I wanted to come onto things later.’
“He’s such a good footballer, I’ve seen him play centrally sometimes for Liverpool. You could play him anywhere.
“When you think about Alaba when he played at Bayern Munich and Lahm, when he went and played central midfield.
“We haven’t got that many quality players in that central midfield position. I think it’s something you could try and it might work.”
But Scott feels that it would not necessarily draw better performances from the defender, noting that competition with James could benefit both.
“This is a tough one,” she said. “It actually happened with the England women’s team with Lucy Bronze. The best right-back in the world.
“Moved Lucy Bronze into midfield and didn’t work. She was OK in midfield but you’ve taken a world-class right-back and she’s just OK in the game.
“As a right-back, I knew I had the space in front of me. I knew when I had to make those runs onto it. So when you move, it’s a totally different game whether you’re receiving with your back to things, having to play round the corner.
“Actually I think the best thing is they’re pushing each other to be even better, making themselves go to another level.”