By Lewis Rooke – @LV_Rooke
Much-maligned is the full back role. It’s easy to gloss over the fact that Liverpool have rolled the dice again and again on the likes of Aly Cissokho, Javi Manquillo, Alberto Moreno amongst many more with less-than-satisfactory results to eventually end up where we are now – with arguably the best full back duo in world football.
However, whilst the two are virtually ruling the European wing-back roost, examining Trent Alexander-Arnold as a separate entity is an interesting task indeed. How does he hold up to what the rest of world football has to offer at right back?
By doing that, we have to examine who the competitors for that position are. Let’s start with current Champions League holder Dani Carvajal – who Trent could usurp come the weekend.
The Real Madrid defender has arguably been the worlds most consistent right-back since the retirement of the excellent Philipp Lahm in 2017. Defensively more solid than the Scouser, the Spaniard does not have the attacking nous of Alexander-Arnold. One can only assume that with added experience, the 20-year-old will trump Carvajal in the near future.
That brings us on to Philipp Lahm’s literal successor – Joshua Kimmich. Like Trent, the German has an expert assurity in possession of the ball – yet as proved in the Champions League tie against the Reds, can be fallible in a defensive sense. While Sadio Mané will give any player on earth a torrid time, Kimmich struggled hugely against the Senegalese in the away leg.
Looking back, I don’t believe anyone has given Alexander-Arnold as rough a time as Mane did Kimmich. Therefore, there is a legitimate case to suggest the Scouser is a superior player to the German – both offensively and defensively.
Now to one of the new kids on the block in Juventus’ Joao Cancelo. The Portuguese signed for the Bianconeri for the best part of 40 million euros, and has had an extremely impressive season so far.
However, having exited the Champions League prematurely at the hands of Ajax and competing in a league where the title is sewn up by March every year. Another season in European competition will show us Cancelo’s true credentials, but as of now – Alexander-Arnold is the superior of the two.
Kyle Walker is Trent’s direct rival for both the Premier League title and for an England starting lineup place. The Manchester City man has been by far and away the standout right back in the league over the last five years – up until the emergence of Alexander-Arnold.
The £50million man transformed Pep Guardiola’s City to a team that took full control of the Premier League, however this season he has somewhat gone off the boil – and Trent has capitalised.
Defensively arguably equal, Alexander-Arnold’s record breaking 12 assists this season has catapulted him past Walker’s attacking output and he can truly be considered as the best the Premier League has to offer.
While we haven’t give it much thought in amongst the pandemonium of a superb Premier League and Champions League campaign, there is a legitimate case to suggest that Alexander-Arnold is one of the best right-backs in the world.
With age firmly on his side, the Scouser has laid the foundations to progress to the very top, and at his rate of progression, I would think it won’t take him much longer to reach his destination.
Not bad for a local lad, eh?