Gary Neville warns England not to waste Trent Alexander-Arnold amid selection debate

Gary Neville has warned that England will look back with regret in the coming years if they cannot find a regular role for Trent Alexander-Arnold in the national team.

The Liverpool star, 25, has been a key player for the Reds ever since breaking into Jurgen Klopp's team at a young age but has not been a regular fixture for his country. Alexander-Arnold, a right-back by trade, has found himself behind Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier in the England pecking order in recent years and some have questioned his defensive abilities in the past.

Alexander-Arnold was included in Gareth Southgate's Euro 2024 squad as a midfielder and is in line to start in a deep-lying midfield role against Serbia in England's opening match of the tournament on Sunday night. The decision has divided opinion, though, with some high-profile pundits, including former England striker Wayne Rooney, suggesting he is ill-suited for such a role.

Speaking on ITV Sport, Neville backed Alexander-Arnold to play in midfield for the Serbia match before lauding the Liverpool ace as a "world-class" talent. And he feels that England could live to regret if they mishandle another special player after pointing to a poor track record with others.

Neville said of Alexander-Arnold playing in midfield: “I think it works for now. The only thing I would say is that we could look back in five, six, seven, eight years if we don't get Trent Alexander-Arnold [playing] international football and regret how we have handled him. He is one player that I would describe as world-class at what he does - there's no doubt about that. He's unique in terms of his delivery [and] his set-piece play.

“We know Gareth loves set-pieces. He'll have Saka with his left-foot but he won't want to put Rice on set-pieces, so I think the idea of having Trent in there isn't just to sort of get that second midfield player that sort of beefs it up a little. Mainoo, Wharton and Gallagher are not ideal either and I do think he wants that second one in there.”

He continued: “We're talking about Trent Alexander-Arnold here. No-one ever doubts the fact that he's special. Really special. And we've mishandled special players for 20, 30, 40 years. We're trying to get him into the team so lets see how it goes. It could work brilliantly today.”

gary neville warns england not to waste trent alexander-arnold amid selection debate

Gareth Southgate gives instructions to Trent Alexander-Arnold

In the wake of comments from Rooney expressing his doubts over playing Alexander-Arnold in midfield, Southgate talked up the player up in his pre-match press conference and stated that playing him further forward was an “opportunity worth grasping”.

The Three Lions boss said: “Everybody’s more than entitled to opinions, so that’s our world, we have to accept that. Then we have to go and show what we can do. I’m really happy. I spoke to Trent about playing in this role over a year ago. It’s something he’s been really keen to do.

“He’s been really receptive to feedback and every bit of information. We know he can be a really special player. Equally, we know it’s not something he’s been doing for the last five years. There is an element of the unknown to it. But I think it’s an opportunity that’s worth grasping because he could be something incredibly special.”

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