Trent Alexander-Arnold has the potential to become England‘s answer to Cafu and could become a star at the World Cup — if given the chance.
That assessment was delivered by Pep Lijnders, Liverpool‘s assistant manager and a man who has worked with Alexander-Arnold since his early teens.
Alexander-Arnold was a driving force in Liverpool’s pursuit of four trophies last season. His position on Liverpool’s right side is almost untouchable but, for England, it is an entirely different situation.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was a key part of Liverpool’s quadruple push last season
The 23-year-old has had difficulty, for a number of reasons, pinning down a consistent run of games for Gareth Southgate and has rarely been able to show his club form.
Lijnders, though, is adamant the opportunity is there for Alexander-Arnold and believes the right-back has the capacity to help revolutionise England’s attacking play in Qatar this winter, so long as he is given a platform to show his true worth.
‘If you see the game in an attacking way, he gave that position such a creative boost over the last few years,’ said Lijnders. ‘Like Cafu did (for Brazil) in the past.
Cafu holds the record for the most Brazil appearances and won two World Cups
‘You have to stay creative, stay unpredictable.
‘Trent sees things that the stadium doesn’t see. He sees things that I don’t see. It is for us to put him in the right position to excel.’
Lijnders was speaking at an event to launch his first book, Intensity, which chronicles Liverpool’s ride last season. To give context to how much he thinks of Alexander-Arnold, his two sons Romijn and Benjamin, were both wearing the right-back’s No 66 shirt.
Pep Lijnders believes Alexander-Arnold can be a key part of England’s attacking play in Qatar
‘That is daddy pushing,’ Lijnders said with a smile. ‘I pushed for them to do that!’
Meanwhile, Liverpool centre back Ibrahima Konate will miss the start of the season after picking up an injury in Sunday’s friendly against Strasbourg.
‘Unfortunately, I have to spend some time off the pitch but it won’t be too long,’ the Frenchman said on social media.