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Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold needs to improve to become England’s first-choice

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets… 

Trent Alexander-Arnold got the nod from Gareth Southgate to start against Kosovo on Tuesday but he failed to make the most of his opportunity.

The 20-year-old has been in impressive form for Liverpool since the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign. Last season, he made a total of 40 appearances, laying on 16 assists, and helping the side win the Champions League, beating Tottenham Hotspur in the final.

In his seven England caps he has so far failed to reach those heights, and his failure to provide an assist in Three Lions colours could see him lose his place to one of the several right-backs available to Southgate; Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are all pushing for inclusion.

There are other concerns, too. The last time England conceded three goals in a 90-minute match was against the would-be world champions France in a 2017 friendly, yet Alexander-Arnold contributed to a defence which let in three against a team ranked 120th in the FIFA World Rankings.

Added to that, he was not as effective going forward as Southgate would have wished for, despite England dominating the match.

As per Sofascore, Alexander-Arnold failed to find a teammate with any of his four crosses, a poor return for a player who is tasked with reaching the byline and cutting the ball back to the waiting forwards.

England may not have struggled for goals, but in international competition, where games are often tight, quality out wide can become vital.

With players such as Walker and Tripper also effective going forward, Alexander-Arnold will need to improve if he is to retain his place, particularly as he was often wasteful in possession against Kosovo, giving the ball away on 14 occasions.

Defensively there will be concerns too, as he was way out of position in the build-up to Kosovo’s second goal, and was ultimately the player who cost England, as Valon Berisha was left unmarked in the box to fire home.

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He also failed to win either of the two tackles he attempted and was dribbled past on one occasion.

Alexander-Arnold will also have to improve his pass success rate, which was disappointing at St Mary’s Stadium.

Seven successful long passes out of 12 suggest he may be trying a little too much.

Perhaps he simply needs to calm down and stop trying to force the issue.

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Article title: Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold needs to improve to become England’s first-choice

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