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Neville claims Trent could cost England in World Cup crunch games
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John Skilbeck
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Trent Alexander-Arnold is waiting for Gareth Southgate's World Cup decision
Trent Alexander-Arnold is waiting for Gareth Southgate's World Cup decision

Trent Alexander-Arnold will be a potential World Cup liability if England boss Gareth Southgate takes the plunge and picks the Liverpool right-back, according to Gary Neville.

Despite playing a starring role in Premier League and Champions League games for Liverpool, Alexander-Arnold's defensive shortcomings have caused concern.

He has been consistently terrific when attacking, but with England's defence likely to come under heavy strain the deeper they go in the Qatar 2022 finals, Neville doubts Alexander-Arnold is the man for the job.

Southgate is expected to name his squad on Thursday, and Neville said: "It's a really tough one because his brilliance going forward is out of this world, but we're talking about knockout football, and how are England going to win or lose in a World Cup?

"It's going to come down to a moment – a mistake, concentration – and at this moment in time I can't see how Gareth could go into a knockout game of a World Cup playing Trent Alexander-Arnold."

Speaking on Sky Sports after Liverpool won 2-1 at Tottenham in the Premier League, former Manchester United and England right-back Neville pointed to a first-half moment where Alexander-Arnold made contact with Spurs wing-back Ryan Sessegnon, who went down in the penalty area.

No spot-kick was awarded, but Neville suspected it might have been had that incident happened at the business end of a World Cup.

"I want this player to be the greatest right-back of all time," Neville said. "He's got the ability to do that. But today at times, again, he looked like he could cost Liverpool dearly.

"He does rash things. In a World Cup that would have been a penalty against him today, and in a second phase or a quarter-final, he's giving a goal away, so I don't think Gareth will trust him in a knockout game.

"Which means, will he then take him, if he's got four brilliant right-backs also potentially to go?"

Southgate has injury doubts to contend with among his full-backs, but Neville identified Reece James, Kyle Walker, Ben White and Kieran Trippier as players who might be better placed to make the trip. James and Walker are battling to get fit in time to travel.

What makes Neville think there is a case for Alexander-Arnold to make the plane is that the 24-year-old could be a handy substitute if England are chasing a game and need attacking verve on the flanks.

"He won't start him, I don't think," Neville said, "but will he take him as that person to bring off the bench if England need a goal? That is the decision Gareth has to make."


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