Trent Alexander-Arnold is delighted to be compared to illustrious footballing names but Liverpool great Steven Gerrard remains the benchmark for Anfield’s latest homegrown hero.
England right-back Alexander-Arnold has been an ever-present during the Reds’ 100 per cent start to the season that has seen them open up an early eight-point advantage over champions Manchester City.
Along with being part of the league’s most miserly defence, the 21-year-old’s threat from dead balls and open play in an attacking sense frequently catches the eye.
He rifled in a superb free-kick during the 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and already has a pair of assists to his name this term.
City’s Kevin de Bruyne is top of those particular standings with a remarkable eight already, although ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Alexander-Arnold’s future could lie in being a comparable assist king from midfield.
Another former favourite from the red side of Stanley Park, Danny Murphy, has likened the youngster’s crossing to David Beckham but one particular player is still the ultimate for Alexander-Arnold.
Speaking to reporters ahead of England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in the Czech Republic, he was asked whether he modelled himself on a particular player and replied: “Gerrard, really. Everything about his game I always admired. I always studied him and wanted to be like him.
“If I had to pick a player it’d be him.
“I never thought I want to cross a ball like that. It’s just happened naturally and I’ve developed it into a decent trait.
“That’s what I try and do. It’s probably the best asset going forward for me so I try and use it as much as I can.”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 9, 2019
Comparisons to lofty names are something Alexander-Arnold takes in his stride.
“It’s maybe not that important to compare because at a young age you haven’t achieved what those players have,” he said. “It’s difficult to say whether you will or whether you won’t. Who knows?
“For now it’s about having an open mind and wanting to achieve those type of levels and be like those type of players. Reaching the levels they reached and being regarded in the same bracket as them is something that the best players want.
“Those are people’s opinions. It’s nice to be thought of in that way but for me it’s about trying to reach those levels, trying to reach higher and trying to become one of the best in the world.”
Much like his club side, England have won every match in their present campaign and are expected to confirm qualification over the next week.
However, a helter-skelter 5-3 win over Kosovo at St Mary’s suggested there is work to be done for the defensive unit.
“If we want to be regarded as one of the best teams in Europe, get far in the Euros and try and win the competition then our goals conceded need to be few and we need to concede fewer goals and score more,” Alexander-Arnold added.
“As defenders, as a team, as a unit we need to improve and that’s what we’ll be working on – analyse what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Kosovo are a really under-estimated side. We had massive respect for them before the game and knew they had threats.
“Luckily for us we’ve been able to outscore them but we weren’t happy with the goals that we conceded. That’s something that we need to work on.”