England will play Colombia in the second round of the World Cup after a much-changed side went down to an equally different Belgium XI. England rested most of their senior starters and gave a chance for others to press a claim for a first-team spot.
Based on the performance and result a few things became clear. Eric Dier is not at Jordan Henderson’s level, Phil Jones and Gary Cahill are rightly on the bench and without Harry Kane England look toothless.
So whilst most of the England XI last night did not impress, the same cannot be said about the Liverpool youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The 19-year-old was making just his second cap for England and doing so on a massive stage. But, as he has done all season for Liverpool, he excelled.
The teenager was England’s most potent attacking threat throughout the game. In the end, Belgium had to swap Thorgan Hazard with the more pragmatic Nacer Chadli just to try and deal with the Liverpool talent.
It was not a perfect performance. Those who have seen Alexander-Arnold play for Liverpool this season will know how decent his set-pieces can be. He struggled with the dead ball last night, however still gave both Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek scoring chances. It also seemed a drilled-in front-post corner was a tactic of England’s last night that simply did not pay off, rather than a miskick from the Liverpool player.
Unfortunately for Alexander-Arnold, his direct competition Kieran Trippier has been one of England’s best players at the World Cup so far.
With that in mind, a place on the bench will likely have to suffice for the Liverpool talent.
But his chance will come for England in the future. When it does, it looks like he is more than up to scratch.
England and Liverpool fans were left divided on Twitter. Although most felt that whilst Alexander-Arnold is brilliant, right now Trippier remains the best choice…
— Chris Wellman (@Tiff5757) June 28, 2018
TAA definitely did. His 1st senior start, at a World Cup against Belgium. Taking the FKs and corners (that alone that ?? ??). He played his own game, the way he has for @LFC after the World Cup, he will make the RB/WB position HIS OWN. ?? @trentaa98 https://t.co/TN9p8ru7rG
— John Bongo (@bongo84) June 28, 2018
Come off it dave, TAA’s corners, free kicks and crossing were woeful tonight…. Trippier has been one of the stand out performers so far…. You’d be mad to drop him
— Jon Hurley (@buenosairesblue) June 28, 2018
TAA 9 key passes, brilliant first half dropped off in the second. If Kane is on the pitch TAA gets 2-3 assists
— Aran (@AzzaLFC001) June 28, 2018
Did you watch the same match?! No doubt TAA is a massive talent but his corners we atrocious whereas trippier has been superb in dead ball situations
— Mark Robinson (@ozzygeezer) June 28, 2018
I’m a Liverpool fan and I have to say Trippier has been class in this WC. TAA is 19 yrs old, his time will come. Great experience for him. #lfc
— Mike Warburton (@wobblykopite) June 28, 2018
TAA was sound.
— Kev.in (@Kev_lfc) June 28, 2018
— leanna wattley (@LeannaLFC92) June 28, 2018
Trippier is better than TAA at this moment in time, for England.
— ??????? (@AdxmLFC) June 28, 2018
You seriously watched those first 2 matches, and that tonight, and concluded we should drop Trippier for TAA?? ?
— Chris Slater (@chrisslaterMEN) June 28, 2018
Poor end product, constantly throughout this game. TAA and Vardy’s odd touch have really been the only decent ones on the ball for me.
— SamHosierLFC ??? (@SamHosierLFC) June 28, 2018
It really is astounding the progress of TAA in the last 18 months. What a talent we’ve got for the next 15 years or more hopefully #LFC
— Lewis Holmes (@lewieblue) June 28, 2018