Robbie Fowler has insisted that Trent Alexander-Arnold deserves to be one of Gareth Southgate’s key players for England.
The Liverpool star made his debut with the Three Lions ahead of the World Cup in 2018, but has been unable to maintain a consistent place in Southgate’s starting XI.
After making a solitary appearance at the tournament in Russia, Alexander-Arnold missed out on England’s run to the final of Euro 2020 after being forced to pull out of the squad due to a thigh injury.
The 24-year-old’s worst experience on the international scene came as his inconsistent form at Anfield saw him axed from the squad that ultimately bowed out after reaching the quarter-finals in Qatar.
Recent Euro qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia has demonstrated Alexander-Arnold’s effectiveness when deployed in role that allows him to showcase his considerable playmaking characteristics and Fowler added that the Liverpool star’s ability from set pieces is reminiscent of an England legend.
‘When it comes to set-pieces, he is the best England have produced since David Beckham,’ Fowler wrote in his column for the Mirror.
‘Yes, Trent Alexander-Arnold is that good.’
The former Liverpool striker added that Alexander-Arnold’s perceived defensive vulnerabilities are more than made up for by what he can provide the national team going forward.
‘I don’t subscribe to the theory that Trent has to reinvent himself if he is going to break into Gareth Southgate’s team. He excelled in midfield as England wiped the floor with Malta and North Macedonia in their two Euro qualifiers last week.
‘And the big question now being asked by the pundits is whether he can still display such creativity against some world-class opposition. But Alexander-Arnold is one of England’s best 11 footballers – whether he is playing as a full-back or a midfielder.
‘He should be one of the first names on Southgate’s team sheet. The quality he provides on the ball more than outweighs the defensive deficiencies that have been used as a big stick to beat him with.’
Fowler also reflected on his own experiences playing international football, expressing regret that he didn’t enjoy his own time with the national team more.
‘I am always being asked about my time with England – and my answer always captures how disappointed I am that I didn’t enjoy it more. It isn’t just the fact that I know a player of my talent should have played more than 26 internationals.
‘It is about the reality that I never felt like I was part of the squad. It was like I was there to complete the numbers. Alexander-Arnold has demonstrated his desperation to play for England.’
Despite multiple prolific seasons at Anfield, Fowler struggled to command in the place in the starting XI under numerous managers for England.
Competing for a spot against the likes of Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham, Michael Owen and Emile Heskey saw Fowler’s opportunities limited, and he received his final cap at the 2002 World Cup, ending his international career with seven goals in 26 appearances.