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"Gut feeling" - Michael Owen predicts Liverpool star WILL go to the World Cup despite recent controversy

Alfie Culshaw

| Last updated 

"Gut feeling" - Michael Owen predicts Liverpool star WILL go to the World Cup despite recent controversy

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes Trent Alexander-Arnold will go to the World Cup with England this winter but will not start.

Alexander-Arnold has endured a difficult beginning to the new season and has been lamented several times for his defensive errors in the Reds’ concession of goals. 

However, the 23-year-old has remained pivotal to Jurgen Klopp’s side’s offensive work with his incisive passing and creativity from the right-hand side.

These inconsistencies in his game have led to widespread debate surrounding his involvement in the England national team, and manager Gareth Southgate has thus far demonstrated a reluctance to use the playmaker.

Despite his abundance of talent, Alexander-Arnold has managed just 17 caps for the Three Lions to date, and his place in the squad for the tournament in Qatar remains in doubt.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, former Red Owen had his say on the England right-back situation:

“Gareth Southgate has not made an immediate decision on Trent. If you look back over the last couple of years he has chosen not to put him in there even when his performances for Liverpool probably warranted it.

“Southgate tended to stick with Reece James, Kieran Trippier or Kyle Walker. Everyone can see how good Trent is."

"My gut feeling is that he will go to the World Cup but I think Reece James will be the starting right-back.” 

Owen also addressed Trent’s issues defensively this season and cited Jordan Henderson as an integral part in minimising his weaknesses.

“Most teams who play Liverpool identify Trent as one of the main attacking threats they need to stop. By the same token, they will also say their biggest opportunity for getting in is on his side.

“Jordan Henderson has tended to try and cover for him but sometimes Jordan is not playing and that has been a cause for concern in certain games. One of Liverpool’s biggest strengths can also be one of their biggest weaknesses.”

Alexander-Arnold has registered 41 assists for Liverpool from right-back, so Southgate may deem his talent too elite to leave on the sidelines, even if that means sacrificing defensive quality.

As Owen alluded to, deploying a midfielder who can cover the spaces the Merseyside born man leaves would be a smart way of maximising his talent.

Whether this is Henderson or someone else, Southgate may feel it is worth at least exploring.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Michael Owen, Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold

Alfie Culshaw
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