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“They’re world class”- Gary Neville critical of England’s decision not to use Liverpool superstar

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Gary Neville speaks on Gareth Southgate’s decision to bench Trent Alexander-Arnold against the USA

For most phases in the game against the USA, England lacked creativity and had Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold and Manchester City’s Phil Foden on the bench for the entirety of the game, which ended in a goalless draw.

In what seemed like a flat-out game with the defences on both sides looking on song, the creative factor Trent brings on could have been extremely effective in bringing down a tight defence like that of Gregg Berhalter’s side led by Tyler Adams.

However, England manager Gareth Southgate decided against bringing on both, Trent and Foden, two of the most naturally talented players on the ball in the Three Lions squad. That decision did not go down well with the majority of the viewers, including a few former players and pundits.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden both remained on the bench in England’s goalless draw against the USA in the World Cup.

Gary Neville especially, who was extremely critical of Trent in the buildup to the tournament, took a U-Turn on his stance on the 23-year-old and cited the need for him to feature against the United States. He said (h/t Liverpool Echo):

“Other nations, France, Spain, Brazil would have Trent Alexander-Arnold and Foden in their starting 11.

I understand it from watching it a little bit having watched Trent Alexander-Arnold, you see a game of that where we lack creativity – you think them two players should really be in there.

Alexander-Arnold has some of the best deliveries you’ll ever see from full-back. I think those two [not] coming off the bench is a little bit disappointing, if you’re trying to win the game they’re world class talents.”

Moreover, the fact that Trent has not featured for the Three Lions in a competitive game for a long while would be something that might be running through his mind. The attacking output he provides is second to none, and he would not like sitting on the bench in games wherein he could certainly be the difference maker.

Trent for England

England’s creative output is not extremely great as such, and seeing two of their most inventive players on bench signifies the trust Southgate has in them. However, in all of this, there are two parties which benefit a lot.

Liverpool and Manchester City will be happy that their most important players are not risking any injuries. Although it may sound selfish, the best for Liverpool would be that their players return from the World Cup as soon as possible to avoid any injuries on National duty.

Gareth Southgate with Liverpool and England right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Gareth Southgate with Liverpool and England right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold.(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Since his debut back in June 2018, Trent has only played for England only 17 times and would be eager to increase that number. But under Southgate, who doesn’t seem to trust him, the chances of him featuring in the knockout stage for the Three Lions seem slim.

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England will finish their group-stage proceedings with a game against Wales, which one would expect the Three Lions to win. Hopefully, Trent features in that game and delivers a world-class performance for Southgate to make note of.