At just 21 years old, Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has already achieved almost everything that a young academy player dreams of in his entire career.
In 2017, then first-choice right-back Nathaniel Clyne suffered a serious injury that allowed the academy graduate a peek into senior football – and, well, the rest is history.
Alexander-Arnold has since become an influential figure in Liverpool’s Champions League-winning side and has contributed masterfully to the team that went over a whole calendar year unbeaten in the Premier League.
Trent Alexander-Arnold spoke on ‘unbelievable’ Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp in GQ interview
The defender said Klopp is a ‘loving character’ and shows his intense passion in training
The defender has spoken openly about his rise and a wide range of topics in an interview with GQ.
He still feels there is work to do at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, who gave him his break into the first-team and has watched him grow into one of the most talented youngsters in world football.
When asked about his manager Klopp, a straight-faced Alexander-Arnold replied with one word: ‘Unbelievable.’
A serious pause followed before he added: ‘Just everything about him in every way. His man-management, the way he goes about it as a person. As a manager, just unbelievable.
‘On camera, you can see he is a loving person and you can see he is someone who cares about the people around him. He cares about his family, his players, his staff. He treats the captain the same as a young player.
‘I feel as if you see the real person. People have a conception of being very emotional, but he knows how to control it, how it is beneficial around him.
‘He is at times [passionate in training], if it needs be. That is something else that is amazing about him. He knows what needs to be said and how to say it.’
The right-back has not always cut the cool figure that we see bombing down the wing for Liverpool. As a young academy player, he was known for having a bad temperament that he put down to being ‘overly competitive’.
Alexander-Arnold admitted that he had a bad temper as a young academy player
He also admitted that he ‘hates losing more than he loves winning’ but learns from mistakes
‘I wouldn’t say it was an outright temperament of a young kid being angry all the time,’ said the Liverpool starlet.
‘It was more being overly competitive that I wanted to win so much that if I didn’t I would obviously be upset. I’d be angry. I’d be angry at myself that I haven’t won something.
‘That comes from a young age when I was in the garden with my brothers, or just doing anything with my brothers. We were just competitive all the time in everything that we ever done.
‘For me, it was normal to be angry if you didn’t win.’
However, whilst having a hot head showcased the defender’s competitive nature, it did have its negatives.
‘It [his temperament] would make you lose concentration in a game,’ he added.
‘You’d focus on your mistakes. If you make a mistake, you kick yourself and then the next five minutes you’re out of the game.’
Many believe the 21-year-old is re-inventing the right-back position with his style of play
Alexander-Arnold believes he has channelled his temper into bettering himself.
‘I hate losing more than I love winning,’ he said. ‘The feeling of someone getting the better of you is weakening. You feel like you’ve let the people around you down.
‘It’s healthy to put a loss behind you but in every loss there is a lesson to be learned.’
ALEXANDER-ARNOLD 2019/20 STATS
Alexander-Arnold made a meteoric rise from youth player to world beater in Klopp’s formidable Liverpool team. Many believe the 21-year-old is re-inventing the right-back position with his style of play; his attacking prowess and crossing ability is proving to be second to none.
Despite this, he still believes he is not a very good footballer and has plenty of improving to do.
‘I don’t think now that I’m a very good footballer,’ he explained.
‘I love playing football but I would say I haven’t reached my full potential at all. So, until then there is no point putting a label on where I am because I’m not where I need to be and where I can be. I still have a lot of improving to do and a lot of hard work to be put in.
‘Growing up there was always indications. I was always in the youth teams and playing every game so I knew that the people making the decisions liked me as a player.
However, he strangely admitted that he still thinks he is not a very good footballer
‘It has never been about me putting a plan ahead to become a footballer, more just every day going into training wanting to win.’
The defender has been part of one of the greatest sides to grace the Premier League and has received many plaudits along the way. However, he insisted that he is not bothered about other people’s opinions and stated that it’s all about the achievements of the team.
‘Obviously people have their opinions. I try and play as best as I can to help the team win trophies. It’s more about the team winning trophies than any opinion that can be given.
His trophy cabinet is growing, but he much prefers team silverware to individual awards
‘Any individual accolade will never come close to a team trophy because they are the ones you grow up dreaming of winning. They are the ones that mean the most and are the hardest to win because you need the people around you to buy into the idea of the manager, the game plans and to play as well as they can.’
Unhappily, Alexander-Arnold admitted that he had his first experience of racial abuse in an England shirt.
In October 2019, England travelled to Bulgaria in a Euro 2020 qualifier and the home fans hurled sickening abuse at Gareth Southgate’s team throughout the match. The Bulgarian FA were subsequently fined and ordered to play a match behind closed doors.
On the issue of racism, Alexander-Arnold admitted that he has experienced very little.
‘The only time would be the Bulgaria match,’ he explained. ‘You understand these things happen. It’s unacceptable whether it be on a football pitch or everyday life.’
‘I feel like the racism comes from a lack of education. In terms of educating people that every person is the same no matter what colour skin or gender. Discrimination is not acceptable in any form because everyone is equal and deserves an equal opportunity to do what they want.’
He is a huge fan favourite with the Liverpool faithful but admitted he doesn’t sing his chant
He added: ‘Why shouldn’t someone be able to go on a football pitch and express themselves? It’s beyond crazy for me.’
It is no secret that the right-back is a fan favourite with the Liverpool faithful, being the only native Scouser in the team. The fans have a chant for him, but Trent insisted that he doesn’t sing it whilst at home.
‘No I wouldn’t say that, no. I’ve never sung it to myself. Maybe in my head.’