Trent Alexander-Arnold’s days as a standard right-back could be coming to an end after an impressive display in England midfield.
Eyebrows were raised ahead of a Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta when the Liverpool defender was given the No.10 shirt, but it soon became clear why.
Pulling the strings in midfield, an excellent smooth pass to Bukayo Saka resulted in the opener when Ferdinando Apap put the ball into his own net.
Then, just before the half hour mark, Alexander-Arnold controlled a clearance outside the box before unleashing a bending effort past helpless keeper Henry Bonello.
Speaking to Channel 4 after the match, he said: “I think my first touch was a bit sloppy.
“I wanted to kick through the ball but I put it outside my body and just thought ‘cross the keeper’. As soon as I hit it I knew it was going towards the goal .”
Having previously played the job for England against Andorra in 2021, debate has raged between club and country over the 24-year-old’s best position.
Jurgen Klopp has dismissed the idea of advancing his full-back, but after defensive struggles in the 2022/23 season he moved the Liverpool academy graduate onto the pitch in a hybrid role and became a attacking force for the Reds.
When asked if he could see his future in this role, Alexander-Arnold replied: “I don’t know. I think potentially.
“I haven’t played it too much, but it’s comfortable. It’s natural, I’ll say.
“It’s a place where I see myself playing. I want to make sure I’m on the team sheet regularly and today was a good base to build on.
“I hope I am one of those players who can be used in several positions.
“I don’t care where I play as long as I play. It doesn’t matter what position I play in, I will give my all and try to win the game.”
Alexander-Arnold has been behind a number of right-backs in the Southgate pecking order before, but he credited the manager for finding a way to use him.
He said: “When it comes to England, the manager has always tried to find a way to get me into the team and with the quality of players playing in those positions it has been hard to come by.
“I think the role I’ve played with club football is a new avenue. It’s still early days, it’s just one game. But it’s important that when I have the opportunity, I seize it.
“I enjoyed it. I love playing football and being on the pitch and representing my country. To play the full 90 minutes I was happy.
“After the little break at the end of the season, it was all about getting my legs back in shape. I loved it and I will remember it.”