John Aldridge 'Dumbfounded' By The Way Trent Alexander-Arnold Has Been Targeted By Media & England Fans

By Gary Connaughton

In the modern game, it doesn't take much for members of the press and social media users to turn on a given footballer. Seemingly overnight, a player can go from being universally hailed to a subject of endless ridicule.

Trent-Alexander Arnold has experienced that this season. He is one of a number of Liverpool players that have performed well short of their best since the start of the campaign, but the the right back is often singled out as a source of their problems.

There is no doubt that clips that often circulate on social media can look as though he is short on quality at the back or even disinterested at times. It is clear that his defensive game has not yet reached the level of play he can produce at the other end of the pitch.

In saying that, such highlights often lack context. Trent Alexander-Arnold is asked to fill a very offensive role for Liverpool, one that inevitably results in large gaps appearing on his side of the pitch. That is nothing new, with such things being a common occurrence even when the team were strolling to Premier League and Champions League triumphs.

What has changed is the lack of cover available to him in midfield, and while the Liverpudlian has lacked form, the level to which he has been criticised has been a surprise.

John Aldridge 'dumbfounded' by Trent Alexander-Arnold criticism

Trent Alexander-Arnold has not been at his best this season, but many are confused by the way he has been targeted by some parts of the media and opposition supporters.

Speaking at a media event to mark the 30th anniversary of the partnership between Liverpool FC and Carlsberg, John Aldridge said the narrative surrounding the player is ridiculous.

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Trent has got his critics and it just dumbfounds me at times. He's the best right-back in the world going forward.

But you've got to be able to compensate whenever we lose the ball. This year with the new system, we haven't quite done that and people are pointing fingers at it. That's going to affect teams. He's a young lad, everything's gone [up] since he's played and all of a sudden, he's had a dip in form. He's only human.

People have jumped all over him, especially from the England point of view. The England supporters, when they come to Anfield, they boo him. What's that all about? Come on. The lads got to live with that...

He's not the world's greatest Olympic athlete and teams play on that. It's up to the manager or whatever to find something to rectify it. If he goes out of there, then someone has just got to sit...

It's pretty harsh on the lad and what Gareth Southgate did - I've got tremendous respect for Gareth - it couldn't have come at a worse time for Gareth when he was just struggling with his form.

Indeed, much of the focus on the perceived holes in Trent Alexander-Arnold's game seems to stem from the way he has been handled by the English setup.

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Even when he was at his best, it was clear that Gareth Southgate did not trust him to be in the team. That should not really be a surprise considering the the England manager's conservative approach to the game places an emphasis on defensive duties above all other qualities.

When he experienced a small dip in form during the latter half of last season, the 24-year old was immediately dropped from the squad. The criticism of his game has intensified massively since that decision.

While Gareth Southgate has made it clear that he does not see Alexander-Arnold as more of a headache that an integral part of his squad, he could now be depending on him at the World Cup. There are major doubts over the fitness of both Kyle Walker and Reece James heading into the tournament in Qatar.

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Despite this, John Aldridge believes the player could well be better off being left out of the squad altogether.

I hope he doesn't go, he has a break and recuperates.

The way the English press have been on top of him as well - some of them, not all of them -- he doesn't deserve that. That's always been a problem with the English press over the years, hasn't it? They build you up to jump all over you.

But yeah, it'll be interesting to see what happens now that the lad from Chelsea is out. I'm sure he's got to take him. You look at what options they've got at right back. They've got a couple of good right-backs, haven't they? Trippier and Walker. But none of them can do what he does.

With only a couple of league games to go before the season breaks for the World Cup, the injury picture for England remains uncertain.

How much football he plays over the next month or so remains to be seen, but hopes will be high on Merseyside that they see a rejuvenated Trent Alexander-Arnold come the turn of the year.

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Pictured is Liverpool FC Legend John Aldridge, who this week visited Belfast and Dublin in celebration of Carlsberg’s 30th year in partnership with the club, alongside former Liverpool FC frontman Robbie Fowler.

Passionate supporters of the Reds since 1992, Carlsberg teamed up with Aldo and Fowler to surprise a group of unsuspecting fans at a Liverpool FC supporters’ five a side match. To find out how they got on, follow Carlsberg Ireland on Twitter or Instagram.

SEE ALSO: Gary Neville Left Squirming After Ian Hislop Calls Out Qatar Hypocrisy

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