It’s certainly not one of the more standard numbers in the Premier League, but Trent Alexander-Arnold’s has never shown any desire to change out of his now ‘iconic’ number 66 shirt.
The England international has established himself as arguably the finest attacking full-back in world football since coming through Liverpool‘s academy ranks, breaking the assists record for a defender in a single Premier League season and winning the Champions League under Jurgen Klopp.
Despite his increasing influence and status, however, Alexander-Arnold has opted to maintain his unusually high squad number of 66, with the Reds’ kit man Lee Radcliffe revealing the story behind the youngster’s unique shirt.
“When we get any young lads that come down from the Academy, we always deliberately try to give them a high-ish number,” Radcliffe told Liverpoolfc.com.
“We don’t like to give them a low number in case they sort of think they’ve made it straight away, if you know what I mean.
“You pick it out because it’s a free number and it’s around that sort of number you think, ‘We’ll give that out because he’s only just come down’.
“When you see him now lifting trophies and celebrating with No.66 on the back, it’s a weird feeling and I can’t really describe it. It’s weird to see such a high number and for someone to be happy with it!
“Someone like Trent has just been happy to be around the first team and obviously doesn’t realise how good he is. He doesn’t really ask for anything, to be honest.
“I think he’s that laidback that he’s obviously been given the number and thought, ‘Yeah, that’ll do me. I’ll keep that’, and not realised how iconic it’s become over the years.”
Radcliffe admits he has been surprised by Alexander-Arnold’s decision not to request a lower number as is so often the case in football, but believes that the impact of the local-born star means the number has now become ‘iconic’ amongst the Liverpool fanbase.
“Generally what you get after maybe a year – if they stay in and around the first team – is that request to see if they can move down a number,” Radcliffe added.
“But obviously Trent’s got quite attached to the number. He’s never asked once [to change it].
“But after his first season and when you realised how good he was going to be, we always used to say, ‘Ah, it won’t be long now before we get that changed’.
“We always used to keep his training kit and match shirt until the last minute in case we got that call, ‘Trent wants his number lowering’.
Just Trent-Alexander Arnold things ?pic.twitter.com/2Ba9GMSIZI
— Goal (@goal) April 12, 2020
“It’s just never happened and he’s obviously happy with it.
“Now because it’s actually been kept by Trent, I think it’s already quite an iconic number and it’s only going to become more iconic I suppose as the years go by and the more games Trent plays.
“I think it’s a number quite close to a lot of fans’ hearts now, as well as staff, because it’s a local lad that’s come through.
“The amount of kids you see walking around in a ’66’, it’s weird that it’s actually stuck. It was one of them that you give out and expect a year later that it’ll get passed on to someone else.”