Sometimes, you only realise a player’s true value when they are out of the team. During Liverpool’s recent dip in form, they desperately missed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s creativity.
He has returned just in time to make them believe they can win the title. This young man plays without fear. When he cuts loose, opponents do not have much time to stop him. Rarely do you see him delay, hesitate or take an extra touch. In a flash, the ball is on a plate for the striker.
Everton are vulnerable from crosses and if they do not stop Alexander-Arnold on Sunday, Liverpool’s fearsome forwards will be queuing up to put the ball in the net. The quality of his delivery is sublime. Alexander-Arnold has natural talent for striking the ball, bending his body to generate maximum whip and pace. He reminds me of Steven Gerrard in the way he crosses, with such accuracy and venom.
The former Liverpool captain spotted Alexander-Arnold’s ability when he was coaching the club’s Under-16s. ‘He grew up pretending to be me while playing in the Merseyside parks,’ Gerrard wrote in his autobiography. ‘He can play as a No 6, a holding midfielder, but he’s versatile and I’ve seen him fill various positions. I know England are all over him.’
Now 20, Alexander-Arnold has already broken into the senior squad and won five caps. So far, he has been used as back-up for right backs Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier but he has all the attributes to be a top central midfielder. We would see his full repertoire of passes in midfield. It is where I see him thriving for England. If he can’t start at right back, a plan needs to be put in place to get him in the team. He is simply too good to be left out.
BRILLIANT! SOLSKJAER REVEALS PLAN AHEAD OF SECOND LEG AGAINST BARCELONA
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed his plan to defeat Barcelona in the second leg of his side’s UEFA Champions League tie with the La Liga leaders.
United were beaten by one goal to nothing in the first leg played on Wednesday.
A Luke Shaw own goal in the 12th minute was all Ernesto Valverde’s men needed to claim victory at Old Trafford.
Speaking after the game, Ole Gunnar Solskajer revealed he will be going in to the game with one thing in mind.
He said: ‘We played a good team. We know you have to defend a lot without the ball and you might be tired when you get the chance yourself.
‘We go there with one thing in my mind, we have to score.’
There is no doubt United will have to score to go through to the semi-final, but the game at the Nou Camp won’t be easy by any means.
It is expected that Barcelona will dominate the second leg, leaving United with the option of playing on the counter.
Aside playing on the counter, Solskjaer will have to rely on set-pieces in order to get a goal. This is where a player like Lukaku will be useful, given his physical presence.
It remains to be seen if Lionel Messi will be able to give a better performance after a not too inspiring first leg where he was bullied by Chris Smalling.
The United defender had prior to the game said that he was ready for the challenge against Messi, urging the little Argentine to ‘bring it on’.
Smalling showed he was ready for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner by making life very difficult for him.
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MANCHESTER UNITED BOSS NAMES THE PLAYER THAT IS ALWAYS IMPROVING HIS GAME
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has heaped praise on midfielder Scott McTominay after his performance against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League, adding that the youngster is improving in every game he plays.
The Scotsman played the entire game as United slumped to 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spanish La Liga side Barcelona on Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old won the Man of the Match award after a commanding display against the best team in the La Liga.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer said: ‘Scott McTominay was fantastic. Every time he plays for us he is improving.
‘He’s a great athlete, wins his challenges and quick on his feet. He started settling us to be fair [after United went behind].’
McTominay has made 17 appearances for United this season, scoring once.
He is a product of United’s academy and made his Premier League debut when he came on as a substitute against Arsenal on the 7th of May, 2017.
His first Premier League start for the club was against Crystal Palace on the 21st of May, 2017.
Solskjaer will be hoping the youngster continues to improve and gives a good account of himself if he is given another chance against Barcelona in the second leg.
With the future of Ander Herrera in doubt, United may have just found an ideal replacement for the Spaniard.
If he is consistent, his youthfulness and ability to put in enormous strength will make him the darling of United supporters.
At this stage, it is important for the youngster to avoid the distractions that come from being the centre of attention and focus on giving his best in training.
He should learn from previous United youngsters who have broken into the first team and failed to maintain and improve on the work that got them to the top.
What are your thoughts about McTominay’s performance against Barcelona? Let us know by dropping a comment
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