Trent Alexander-Arnold has struggled to feature for England during Gareth Southgate’s England tenure.

He has featured on the bench 17 times and played 16 games.

Trent had been picked for the Euro 2020 squad before injury, but it would have been unlikely he would have been a mainstay.

He missed the previous two squads (one through injury) but did start one of the friendlies before injury.

This is despite the fact Trent has been one of the best fullbacks in the world since he arrived on the scene in 2017.

The 23-year-old would certainly bring something else to the England side, but there is a reason he is potentially third or fourth choice.

What Trent brings to a team? 

Trent is like a modern day David Beckham.

His ability to cross the ball, provide from set pieces and play-make from fullback is unrivalled.

So far this season he has scored 2 goals, made 11 assists and 3 KeyP (Key passes per game).

To compared with his England teammates:

Kieran Trippier: – 1.5 KeyP + 0 assists + 2 goals

Kyle Walker: – 0.7 KeyP + 2 Assists + 0 goals

Reece James: 1.9 KeyP + 6 Assists + 5 goals

The only other England fullback that can keep close to Trent’s attacking output is Reece James.

This is not the only way to judge a fullback, nor is it suggesting Trent cannot defend.

But it is the main reason Trent would be brought into the England side.

What is keeping Trent out of the side?

Simply, England has four of the five best right-backs in the Premier League.

Arguably, four of the best 10 in Europe.

All four offer something slightly different and Trent is potentially the most unique of all.

Trent Alexander Arnold
Trent Alexander Arnold – pic credit Кирилл Венедиктов, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

He is like a deep-lying playing right-back.

This uniqueness is why Trent is so good.

But it may also be his downfall in the national team set-up.

The national coaching team have less time to work with players on systems and developing tactical familiarity.

Something that is required when working with a player as unique as Trent.

The other three are more orthodox, therefore do not require that extra time to learn how they play.

Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier are also much more experienced than Trent.

Both have served Southgate well in the World Cup and Euros, therefore shifting them would naturally be hard work.

Whether Trent should replace either of these is up to Southgate.

It is certainly safer for Southgate to opt for James, Trippier or Walker.

Walker is the most defensively sound of the four.

Trippier has the most well-rounded game of the four.

He has experience, defensive reliability, good set pieces and also has the ability to play in a back four or three.

James can offer slightly less than Trent in terms of play-making but he is clearly an excellent attacking option and more flexible then Trent.

James would be the better choice for the opening game of the World Cup.

How can Southgate get Trent in the team?

Something Southgate should have tried (hamstring injury aside) this international break is getting the best out of TAA.

He offers a level of quality which is unrivalled across Europe.

Southgate’s potential line-up with Trent (prior to injury):

(4-3-3):- (GK) Pickford, (RB) Trent Alexander-Arnold, (CB) Maguire, (CB) Stones, (LB) Chilwell, (6) Rice, (8) Henderson, (8) Bellingham, (LW) Foden, (ST) Kane, (RW) Sterling.

A big part in Trent’s success at Liverpool has been how the team functions around him.

Henderson playing for England would certainly help this as he often plays on the right side of a three next to Trent.

Rice is one of the best holders in the Premier League and Bellingham can offer extra legs in the midfield that would give the team a nice balance.

But with his latest injury before the international break, TAA may be running out of time to be the first choice right-back for England.