TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD wants to be England’s great entertainer in Jude Bellingham’s absence – and earn himself a starting spot at the Euros.
The Liverpool maestro is set to feature against Malta in midfield at Wembley on Friday night.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has studied clips of John Stones and Rodri, plus legends like Steven Gerrard, Sergio Busquets and Andrea PirloGetty
John Stones’ switch from central defence to midfield with Treble winners Man City has impressed Alexander-ArnoldPA
Often overlooked in the past by Gareth Southgate, Alexander-Arnold is on a mission to become one of his country’s main men – and even dreams of wearing the armband one day.
Alexander-Arnold said: “Every game for me between now and the end of the season and any time I’m performing, it’s to earn a place to start in the Euros.
“These are huge opportunities. Just like in the summer, just like when I’m given any time on the pitch and given that platform to perform.
“That is what I want to go out and do. I want to start those games at the Euros and be someone who can help win silverware for the country.
“My role (against Malta) is to create and make things happen .
“Control the game in the middle of the pitch, get the ball on to the attackers, play forward, run forward, (score) goals, (provide) assists, create chances. To get people off their seats.”
Southgate is without a number of players due to injury for tonight’s qualifier as well as Monday’s trip to North Macedonia, including Real Madrid sensation Jude Bellingham.
The 20-year-old inspired England to their 3-1 comeback win against Italy last month which sealed qualification for next summer’s Euros in Germany.
Without him, others will have to step up in two games that Southgate sees as important to his side’s seeding at the finals.
Alexander-Arnold is ready to be that man, having converted into a midfielder for his country in the last year.
It was ahead of the international camp in June – which saw England hit four past Malta and then seven past North Macedonia – that Alexander-Arnold held talks with Southgate about his role.
The Three Lions boss told Alexander-Arnold then that he saw him as a possible midfielder.
And it was from that position that the Reds ace ran the show in the 4-0 win over the Maltese in Ta’ Qali.
The 25-year-old reflected: “I would say the Malta game was my best performance in an England shirt.
“It was a big opportunity for me. I knew I needed to perform.
“I had spoken to the manager prior to the game leading up to that camp specifically about an opportunity and he explained to me there could be a potential opportunity in midfield going forward for me.
“When I heard those words, it ignited something within me. There was a chance for me to go out there and take it and I think that’s what I did. Hopefully I’ll be able to build on that.”
Alexander-Arnold netted in that thrashing of Malta and assisted against North Macedonia, but then missed the September internationals through injury.
He started last month’s friendly against Australia at right-back, before moving into midfield, and came on against Italy in the middle of the park.
There does seem to be a genuine chance for Alexander-Arnold to make the other holding midfield role alongside Declan Rice his own before next summer.
Kalvin Phillips is out of the picture at Man City but still a regular for England
Versatile Etihad ace Rico Lewis, 18, has yet to win a senior capRex
Alexander-Arnold has been doing all he can to work on the role, as well as the hybrid full-back-midfield one he has been playing for his club.
He is helped too by the fact that he played midfield as a kid.
Alexander-Arnold explained: “Growing up in my teenage years I was a midfielder so it’s a position I have some knowledge of.
“From going from a midfielder trying to learn the full-back role then being a full-back and getting into the first team and pushing on, now again I’m in the position where I’m trying to learn how to play midfield.
“Trying to learn and adapt is something I have massively enjoyed.
“(My skills are) probably best suited to someone who plays in the middle of the pitch, who controls the game, controls the tempo, creates, breaks lines, progresses the ball up the pitch.”
For now, Alexander-Arnold is focused purely on becoming a starter for his country.
But that has not stopped him dreaming of captaining England further down the line.
He added: “To be responsible for the result and success of club and country is something I see is on me. I enjoy that.
“That kind of responsibility is something that will always bring the best out of me. I do have high ambitions, massive ambitions, for club and country.
“Being in a leadership role and being a leader within both set-ups is something I’ve always dreamed of.
“I do also believe that dreams do come true if you work hard enough for them.”