Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is a “Championship level” defender, according to former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf.
The Anfield star is widely acknowledged to be one of the best creative players in his position in world football, and has averaged the joint-highest tally of crosses per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, alongside Newcastle United talent Kieran Trippier.
But the 23-year-old has come in for criticism in recent weeks for his defensive displays, with some suggesting that Liverpool’s recent run of patchy form has highlighted the weaker aspects of his overall game.
Among those to raise concerns over Alexander-Arnold’s qualities at the back is Leboeuf, who has argued that the Liverpool favourite is a second tier talent in that regard.
Speaking in an interview with Journal du Dimanche, as quoted by Goal, the 1998 World Cup winner said: “Look at Trent Alexander-Arnold. I love the guy, his offensive qualities. But defensively, he’s Championship level.
“Only Klopp’s system works for him. When it doesn’t work as well as it has this season, all you see is his defensive shortcomings.
“I want to take him with me to work on the basics. I would say to him: ‘Turn your head and look behind you, it will be better already’.
“It was Roberto Carlos who deformed generations of defenders.”
Leboeuf’s comments come as England manager Gareth Southgate continues to express his own doubts over Alexander-Arnold through his team selection.
The Anfield defender was an unused subtitute in Friday evening’s 1-0 UEFA Nations League defeat to Italy, and has been omitted from the matchday squad entirely for Monday’s clash with Germany.
The match, set to take place at Wembley, represents England’s final preparatory fixture before this winter’s World Cup in Qatar, raising yet more questions about Alexander-Arnold’s short term future with the national side.