Trent Alexander-Arnold: Stats show Southgate wrong to drop England RB

  • Kat Lucas
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Trent Alexander-Arnold's name was conspicuously absent when England released their 23-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers on Thursday. 

The Three Lions will play San Marino, Albania and Poland in a six-day triple-header as they begin the road to Qatar 2022. 

However, Gareth Southgate will also be using the international break as a late opportunity to test his players ahead of the European Championships. 

Now it's no secret that the England boss loves a right-back. The man is obsessed with them, but that wasn't enough to spare Alexander-Arnold the axe. 

Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James have all made the squad in his place. 

On the one hand, many England fans will be pleased to see that no player is above the cull and that even the most respected defenders around can find their place under threat if they aren't performing. 

But the real question is whether Alexander-Arnold's form has really been bad enough. Nobody is saying the Liverpool right-back is in the form of his life. He's been part of the champions' wider drop-off and holds the unwanted record this season of the most failed crosses in a game (18 against Burnley).

It's always been accepted that the 22-year-old is a little suspect defensively. Even then, his tackle success this season (69%) is higher than Walker's (65%) and James (66%). 

Going forward, however, is where he really excels. 

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Of the defenders who have created the most chances in the Premier League this season, Luke Shaw leads the way with 52. Andy Robertson has 45 and Alexander-Arnold 44. That means he's eight behind the Manchester United left-back, but he's also clear of Aaron Creswell (41) and Joao Cancelo (40). 

In terms of big chances created, only Cresswell and Robertson have more with nine - Alexander-Arnold is on eight. 

Let's take a look at assists, too. While he's only registered three in the league (and five in all competitions), there are only five full-backs with more. He's performing at the same level on that front as Tottenham's Sergio Reguilon and out-performing Hector Bellerin of Arsenal. 

Nor has his game changed that much - he's only scored one league goal, but that's been the case in all but one season since his breakthrough. 

So while there's no denying he's struggled to reach his usual levels, has he set the bar too high? Perhaps his recent highlights are a good indicator: 

It's one thing for Southgate to drop Alexander-Arnold for a few March qualifiers, but it would be a huge statement if he exiles him this summer at the Euros - particularly when the stats suggest the England boss has been very harsh. 

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