Trent Alexander-Arnold: England’s star ‘feels natural’ in new midfield role following Malta performance
Some fans may have cringed at the sight of Trent Alexander-Arnold wearing number 10, but the England full-back-turned-midfielder said it felt “natural.”
Alexander-Arnold started England’s Euro 2024 qualifier in Malta alongside Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson on Friday.
It is not a wholly new notion for the Liverpool player under Gareth Southgate, who has already played in that position in a September 2021 qualifier against Andorra, albeit with disappointing results.
In Ta’Qali, though, England fans were given to a best-of Alexander-Arnold display – perfect crosses and lofted balls, enthusiasm and talent in possession, and a spectacular 25-yard goal in an easy 4-0 triumph.
“I haven’t played it too much, but it feels comfortable,” the 24-year-old told Channel 4 when asked if he saw himself in this position in the future.
“I will add that it feels natural. It’s a place where I could picture myself playing. I want to make sure I’m on the team sheet on a regular basis, and that was a wonderful base to build on.
“I believe the role I’ve been playing with club football is a new avenue for me.” It’s still early days, with only one match, but it’s critical that I seize every opportunity.”
This was one of England’s easiest victories in recent years, with Malta failing to register even a single touch in the opposition box, let alone a shot on goal.
However, there were indications in the link-up play between Alexander-Arnold and Bukayo Saka that this experiment may be worth continuing in upcoming harder qualification tests against North Macedonia, Ukraine, and defending European champions Italy.
Alexander-Arnold was involved in the eighth-minute goal. His over-the-top pass found Saka, whose cross was converted by Malta defender Ferdinando Apap.
It offered England the advantage of avoiding a stodgy, tense night like so many in previous qualification campaigns.