Glen Johnson tells critics of ‘world-class’ Trent Alexander-Arnold to ‘back off’

Former England and Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson believes Trent Alexander-Arnold remains a world-class talent and criticism of his form this season is premature.

The 23-year-old, like some of his Reds team-mates, has been struggling for top form this season, which has prompted the former academy graduate’s game to come under renewed scrutiny.

Questions continue to be asked about his defensive skills and whether he can switch his game from his style of play for Liverpool to a more disciplined approach with England.

Alexander-Arnold has been called up in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next week’s Nations League games against Italy and Germany, but a starting role is far from guaranteed.

“I personally think people should back off,” Johnson told the PA news agency at an LFC Foundation and SC Johnson Goals for Change partnership event in Anfield.

“He’s set the bar so high in recent years that people are just too quick to jump on his back just because he’s not at the level we’re used to him.

“We all know he’s better at forward than defending but there’s nothing wrong with that; Every player is better at one thing than another.

“I think it’s a bit tough. Of course he didn’t play at the level we’re used to, but you don’t lose your skills overnight. He’s still world class.

“Every player goes up and down in form and Trent doesn’t want to get back to his heights any more than anyone.

Like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Glen Johnson played for Liverpool and England (Mike Egerton/PA)

(PA Archive)

“He’s still a young lad and once he picks up momentum and gets a little more confident I’m sure he’ll reach the heights he’s reached in the past.”

While Alexander-Arnold has no competition for his place at Liverpool, the situation is different internationally, with Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, Chelsea’s Reece James and Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier all ahead of him in the pecking order.

And while the perception remains he cannot play at the highest level he faces a battle to assert his claims for a starting spot, but Johnson believes there is no reason he cannot shine with England.

“There are two or three people you could fight for with different arguments,” he added.

“I think Reece James would be Trent’s closest competition, but you have two different players.

I think it’s a bit harsh. Of course he didn’t play at the level we’re used to, but you don’t lose your skills overnight. He’s still world class

Glen Johnson on Trent Alexander Arnold

“I think Gareth is probably rubbing his hands because if you’re playing against a team that’s sitting back and putting 10 players behind the ball, you might be playing Trent because of his delivery and free-kick ability and then when you’re going against you could Play Reece James.

“The players obviously don’t want that, they want to play every game but the England manager probably loves it.

“Don’t get me wrong, international football is different from the Premier League, you have to play it a little differently.

“At international level you might be playing against a team that might not be among the big nations but have players who can hurt you if you don’t play properly.

Alexander-Arnold, left, is not a regular in England (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA Archive)

“But of course he will play for England for a very long time. It will take some hard work but he is more than capable.”

Johnson visited Anfield, where 400 school children were learning about sustainability.

“I remember as a child you were much more attentive if you were learning about a place that interested you,” said the 38-year-old.

“It’s very important. There are kids learning how to start recycling, reusable energy and some tips to use at home.” Glen Johnson tells critics of ‘world-class’ Trent Alexander-Arnold to ‘back off’

Fry Electronics Team

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