Rewind to 7 May 2019 – the night Trent Alexander-Arnold and Liverpool performed the unthinkable.
A 4-0 win for Jurgen Klopp’s side saw the Reds progress to the Champions League final after losing 3-0 to Barcelona in the first leg. An unbelievable comeback that wrote itself in the history books and one that later resulted in Liverpool lifting the trophy in Madrid.
While it was Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum that scored the all-important goals for Liverpool, it was Alexander-Arnold’s exceptional assist for the fourth and the quick thinking that came with it that got people talking.
Fast forward to June 2020 and Liverpool have won their first Premier League title. Alexander-Arnold ended the season with 15 assists in all competitions. Trent – then 21 – was regarded by most as the best right-back in the world at the time.
So, if you told me a year ago that Gareth Southgate would be likely to take Kieran Trippier to the Euros over TAA I would have laughed in your face.
Yes, Trent hasn’t had the best season. Before the turn of the year he put on some pretty dreadful performances, but has since improved and shown his quality. Look at Liverpool’s recent wins over Manchester United and West Brom, for example, where Alexander-Arnold picked up two assists in the process.
In fact, even when he was in bad form, he would still pop up with a superb ball into the box and plenty of impressive assists. Trent’s delivery is unmatched and something that could be the difference between a brilliant tournament and getting knocked out early doors.
What makes the potential exclusion of Alexander-Arnold worse is the possible inclusion of Trippier.
Kyle Walker I can understand, and I also particularly like Reece James. But Kieran Trippier? Yes, his goal at the World Cup caused chaos across the country, but I fail to see what the Atletico Madrid man can bring to this squad now that means Alexander-Arnold should miss out.
When we were originally only permitted to take a 23-man squad to the Euros, the idea of Trent not being called up made a bit more sense – although I still wasn’t impressed. But now that the squad size has been expanded, I think you have to be stupid not to take him.
It would be another very questionable decision from Southgate – something he hasn’t been short of during his time as the England manager – and my patience is wearing thin.
There is so much talent in England and we have the potential to consistently do well at tournaments, but we don’t and we won’t with a manager who thinks Kieran Trippier is a better option than one of the best right-backs in the world.
So, come Tuesday when England announce their Euros squad, I will be disappointed but not surprised when Alexander-Arnold’s name isn’t on there. Will Southgate’s terrible decision making have an impact on how far we progress? I really hope not.