FourFourTwo’s 100 Best Teenagers in the World 2017: No. 9, Trent Alexander-Arnold
Alexander-Arnold introduced himself to a wider audience in August with a delicious free-kick to open the scoring in a crucial Champions League play-off at Hoffenheim – “a beauty” according to one Steven Gerrard – but his reputation had been steadily growing at Anfield for some time before that.
A product of a youth academy whose output has dried up somewhat since the days of Owen and Gerrard, the full-back is – along with the similarly precocious Ben Woodburn – one half of a glittering pair who hint at renewed distinction among Melwood's youngsters.
He is an incredible young player. It was actually because I told him he had to do it - he was the only one who can. He can shoot free-kicks better than I ever could
That he was granted his first league start at Old Trafford having barely turned 18 is a mark of the esteem in which Alexander-Arnold is held by Jurgen Klopp and his coaches. He played his part in a hard-fought draw that day and has since grown in confidence and capacity, albeit in being used sparingly by a manager wary of the too-much-too-soon hazards.
His dead-ball in Germany was deployed with Jordan Henderson, Mo Salah and Emre Can all on the pitch. That the full-back put himself forward to take it is as much a sign of his promise as the way he picked out the top corner, and it's this quiet assuredness in his own technique – visible every time he has the ball at his feet – that marks him out as a player of serious pedigree.
In an era where full-backs are ever-more important, Alexander-Arnold's tireless engine and smart final ball stand him in firm stead.
1:02 for that free-kick vs Hoffenheim
The 19-year-old has since used his limited outings to add to his goal tally – a handy knack for any defender – and while a shaky afternoon against a rampant Manchester City side showed that there’s headway still to be made, all evidence points to a sparkling top-level career.
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