Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold returns England’s love-hate relationship to honeymoon phase

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While plenty of eyeballs were rolled when Cristiano Ronaldo continued to put himself forward for set-piece duty with Portugal at Euro 2024, the same can never be said for Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The Merseyside native may not operate in an advanced attacking role, but he shares many of the qualities boasted by those that function in the final third of the field.

His ball-striking ability is beyond question, whether that be spraying a long-range pass or standing over a dead-ball, and that skill set continues to be embraced by club and country.


When Alexander-Arnold stepped up to the spot for England in their European Championship quarter-final with Switzerland, few at Anfield will have jumped behind the sofa.

As it happens, the ball was slammed into the top corner with the goalkeeper sent the wrong way.

Gareth Southgate’s side have been cut to 5/2 for those looking to bet on Euro 2024 online, with continental glory within reach.

More tough tests await, but Netherlands vs England odds at the semi-final stage suggest that the Three Lions – at 6/4 – can make it to back-to-back Euros finals and right some of the wrongs from 2021.

It remains to be seen how prominently Alexander-Arnold figures in that quest.

Having been trusted with a central midfield role early on, that experiment was ripped up as England stumbled out of the blocks as a collective.

Southgate then opted against deploying Alexander-Arnold as a wing-back when tinkering with his tactical system for a quarter-final clash in Dusseldorf.

He did end up turning to the Liverpool full-back in an hour of need.

Alexander-Arnold was happy to answer the call, with there no shortage of confidence in his game despite having to once again make peace with life on the bench in an international arena.

While others shied away from the responsibility of taking a penalty in a nerve-shredding shootout, Alexander-Arnold positively embraced that pressure.

He has said of revelling in an opportunity to take centre stage from 12 yards: “It [penalties] is what we practised and they are the moments that I enjoy. When the gaffer told me I was taking one, my belly does not drop. I had practised it so I knew what spot I was going for and I just needed to execute it.”

Few to have trodden that solitary path from halfway line to penalty spot can claim to have enjoyed the experience.

That has certainly been the case where England are concerned in major tournament shootouts.


Alexander-Arnold is, however, cut from a different cloth and forms part of a new generation.

There was a time when England were almost beaten before a spot-kick was taken – as Reds legend Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher can testify – but that is no longer the case.

Where fear and frustration once reigned, now there is expectation and hope.

Alexander-Arnold epitomises that brave new world as much as anybody.

England may have endured a love-hate relationship with penalties down the years, but they appear to be back in the honeymoon phase courtesy of set-piece masters that boast unshakable belief.

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