World Cup 2018: How James Milner sparked Trent Alexander-Arnold’s rise from Liverpool bench to England starter

James Milner might be retired from international duty but the veteran is still having an impact on England’s World Cup 2018 squad, having played mentor to Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The 32-year-old ended his Three Lions career after Euro 2016 but the impressive run of form which helped the Reds reach the Champions League final saw calls for him to return for this summer’s trip to Russia.

Neither Milner nor England boss Gareth Southgate appeared to seriously entertain the idea but Alexander-Arnold credits his Anfield colleague with aiding his rapid rise from youth team to full international.

“James has taught me a lot. Like me he also came through really young and he’s always there if I need to go to someone,” the 19-year-old said. “It’s important to have those players around you. At Liverpool he is one of the players who have been really successful in their career, he knows how to win things and how it’s done. He’s been a huge help to me this season.”

Expanding on the nature of Milner’s advice, Alexander-Arnold added: “He always comes up to me before a big game and tells me just to keep playing the way I play, not change my game too much.

“That’s one of the things that has really hit home for me, just to play how I play and not change for anyone.”

Alexander-Arnold made his debut in the farewell friendly win over Costa Rica but is behind Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier in the reckoning at right wing-back.

His last competitive match was the dramatic Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid – an experience he hopes has hardened him for the challenges ahead should he get a chance in Russia.

“Those tough moments make you resilient and help you to bounce back,” he said.

“Without those tough moments maybe you don’t really appreciate the good ones. I think even though it was a disappointing night as a team we’ve taken positives and hopefully it’s made me a bit harder.

“The international stage is a difficult test, but hopefully I can play some part in this journey I’m on with the team.”

Follow the Independent Sport on Instagram here, for all of the best images, videos and stories from around the sporting world.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *