Trent Alexander-Arnold passed his England audition in centre midfield as stats from Euro 2024 opener are revealed

Trent Alexander-Arnold passed his England audition in centre midfield as stats from Euro 2024 opener are revealed

THIS game felt a bit like an audition for Trent Alexander-Arnold in centre midfield.

I think he passed it and deserves another chance to show all the qualities that he can bring to the role.

PATrent Alexander-Arnold passed his England midfield audition against Serbia[/caption]

Jack Wilshere wants to see the Liverpool right-back continue in the heart of the team

I was pleased when I saw Trent in the starting line-up for the 1-0 win over Serbia.

It’s a little bit braver than we have normally seen from England boss Gareth Southgate and I like that.

It was: ‘Go on, go and play!’ It didn’t necessarily work out like that but that wasn’t Trent’s fault.

Southgate was experimenting with him in there, seeing if it worked.

If we get later in the tournament against the big teams, you will need someone who has played in there a few times and understands the position a bit.

The combination between Trent, Kyle Walker and Bukayo Saka is a promising one.

You see Trent naturally drift over to that right side and receive it almost like a full-back.

It’s interesting what happens then with Walker.

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He was still getting involved in and around the outside, which was good to see, and it was Walker who got forward to help create the Jude Bellingham goal.

That link-up is something we need to exploit more. We should probably have used it more last night as well.

At the start, he was a little bit shaky. He gave the ball away a couple of times, and one of them led to that decent chance for Aleksandar Mitrovic.

When he plays for Liverpool he comes inside. But it’s different when you’re in there from the start. It’s 360 degree pressure, from all sides.

I always found international football that bit quicker. 

You’ll often receive it with your back to the game and you’ve scanned, but you need to get more on the half turn to see what’s coming.

But it was difficult for Trent, especially in the first half, for him to show his range of passing. 

Match Stats

When you’re playing against a back five, with four in front, and they’re stubborn and just waiting . . . it is very hard.

There’s no space in behind, they’re very tight and organised.

And when the ball is going over your head, your job then becomes jumping on second balls, disrupting and trying to shield the big two up front.

Trent’s positioning was good and he made some good interceptions. I think he can — and should — hold on to the ball a bit more, draw the pressure, and then play the ball forward.

If someone comes to him, that frees up space for someone else. 

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And he and Declan Rice have the ability to find Bellingham and Phil Foden through the lines. 

I would like to have seen more of that. 

As the game opens up, Trent is a player who can pick the right pass. Especially in transition, like he did with a lovely one down the side for Saka in the first half and another early in the second.

It was also good to see him get forward for a decent long-range shot.

But Trent was not helped by England’s performance in the second half. We weren’t aggressive enough, we didn’t press well enough.

Trent’s audition lasted just under 70 minutes in the end. I believe it is something Gareth should persist with.

He is more than intelligent enough to work it out. And as the tournament goes on, I’m sure he will be fine in there.

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