Monday, July 15, 2024
HomeInternationalEngland teammate defends 'unbelievable' Alexander-Arnold

England teammate defends ‘unbelievable’ Alexander-Arnold

Declan Rice has called Trent Alexander-Arnold ‘one of the best players I’ve ever seen’ and said the Liverpool defender can play in midfield for England.

Alexander-Arnold has started England’s opening two fixtures in central midfield and has attracted criticism during two unconvincing team performances from the Three Lions.

The 25-year-old features primarily at right-back for Liverpool but has been moved into midfield with England. Gareth Southgate called the change an ‘experiment’ following the draw with Denmark last week, as Alexander-Arnold adapts alongside Rice in a central position.

 

Rice has hit back at the critics of Alexander-Arnold’s performances and England’s perceived lack of control in midfield, calling the latter ‘one of the best players’ he has seen in his career.

“It’s funny because people were calling for Trent to play in midfield. Half the country are calling for Trent to play in midfield,” Rice said to ITV Sport.

“You play him in midfield and then you want to bring him down. I don’t get it, I don’t get it at all. I’ll defend all of my boys until the day I never put on an England shirt.

“Trent is one of the best players I’ve ever seen. Don’t call for someone to play in a position and then backtrack. All because you think he’s had a bad game or something. I’ll tell you now, Trent can play in midfield. I’ve seen it at England. I’ve seen it at Liverpool. He’s unbelievable. That’s what I say to the people you see say that type of stuff.”

Rice was asked whether England have the personnel in the squad to control games, having faded after bright starts against both Serbia and Denmark. He explained England cannot always play on the ‘front foot’ in tournament football.

“Yeah I think that there 100% is. Again, it gets overlooked. If you look at the first half against Serbia we played in their half the whole game,” he continued.

“We built from the back, got into their half, dominated the ball, had so many touches of the ball. Then because of the second-half performance where we kind of dropped off, probably didn’t have as much of the ball, the narrative is that England have no control.

“Then all of a sudden you play against Denmark, start well. First 10-15 minutes have a lot of the ball. Go one nil up, sit back, don’t get the press right and they start passing the ball around. Then again, the narrative is England don’t have any control.

 

“We have players who can play. We’ve got players at the back who are ball-playing centre-backs and full-backs. You’ve got me now, I’m at Arsenal, the way Mikel (Arteta) wants to play. I totally understand the way he wants to play. You’ve got Jude (Bellingham), you’ve got Phil (Foden), you’ve got B (Bukayo Saka), you’ve got H (Harry Kane). We can play any type of way.

“It’s just about going out there and doing it. But obviously, teams and fans they want us on the front foot constantly. This is tournament football. It can’t always be that way.”

Read – Rice happy to do the dirty work in search of England balance

See more – Are PSR transfers a nonsense or defiance to the elite?

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