Gareth Southgate praises Liverpool star over unsung traits in England win

England manager Gareth Southgate was full of praise for Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold following the comprehensive 7-0 win over North Macedonia in Euro 2024 qualifying on Monday night.

The 24-year-old stood out for a sumptuous assist for Bukayo Saka’s second goal of the match just after half-time, although the Three Lions boss was keen to highlight other aspects of the Reds midfielder’s performance at Old Trafford.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the game, the 52-year-old said of Trent: “I think what it was that defensively it wasn’t as straightforward as it looked. The other night he just had to tag the pivot really and he did that well. Tonight he had to make a lot of decisions and he did it almost immaculately.

“He regained a lot of balls. His pressing was good, so for me, he has got everything to play in there. I didn’t even think twice about starting him in there. It might give us something completely different. The vision and the passing range and the connection with Bukayo for his second goal.”

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Trent showed with his sublime 50-yard pass to Saka just how gifted he is with the ball at his feet, with the Liverpool star taking to a midfield role with England just as seamlessly as he did with his club towards the end of the 2022/23 season.

He has previously been much criticised in some quarters over the quality of his defending, but Southgate was keen to praise this aspect of his play last night, and with good reason.

As per Sofascore, the 24-year-old made two interceptions and one clearance, along with winning one tackle and two of his duels, with those figures illustrating how much work he carried out when not in possession.

He also posted a remarkable pass completion rate of 98%, misplacing only one of the 56 passes he made throughout his 90 minutes on the pitch.

Trent has had to endure a mountain of criticism in the past, but even accounting for the paucity of the opposition, he showed on Monday night that he’s more than worthy of his place in the England team, and he’s clearly made a big impression on Southgate judging by the manager’s post-match comments.

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