Gary Neville, Jamie Redknapp and Jamie Carragher clashed when discussing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s role for England at the World Cup.
The Liverpool star is widely regarded as one of the best full-backs in world football but has never been able to replicate that form on the international stage.
Alexander-Arnold was left out of the matchday squad for September’s Nations League game against Germany, but an injury to Reece James secured the Reds right-back’s place in the 26-man squad for Qatar.
Discussing their respective lineups for the first game of the World Cup against Iran on Monday, Neville was the only one of four pundits, also including Karen Carney, to start Alexander-Arnold at right wing-back.
Asked which England players are ‘generational talents’, Neville said: “I think Foden is that, Bellingham is that and I think, although we talk about him a lot, Trent Alexander-Arnold is that. If you look at what he is in his position, there’s nothing like it in terms of delivery.
“Playing him as a right wing-back gives you the opportunity to get him into the team, you’d never play him at right-back, I don’t think, in a knockout game for England.
“But he may, if he starts that tournament well, and you’ve got Walker or White behind him in that channel they do get out there comfortably.”
Redknapp: “With Trent, he’s played won Champions League finals, he’s won big games.”
Neville: “Jamie, you’ve not even picked him to play Iran in the first game.”
Redknapp: “Yeah I know, I’m just saying…”
Neville: “I’m the only one who’s picked him.”
Redknapp: “Yeah at right wing-back. Then you’re saying he can’t play in big games.”
Neville: “All three [Karen Carney, Jamie Reknapp and Jamie Carragher] haven’t picked him [Trent Alexander-Arnold] against Iran, I don’t think I should be questioned if he doesn’t play in a knockout game.”
Redknapp: “It’s more you’re saying… he’s played in so many big games that young man.”
Neville: “Jamie, I’m obsessed with watching full-backs so if I’m watching Reece James and he’s fit, Reece James plays at right wing-back at this moment in time. I think he’s fantastic, he has both assets to his game.
“The way England and Gareth think, they’re not going to dominate the game that much against the top teams, we build from a defensive base, Trent will have to defend more than he does for Liverpool.
“These three haven’t picked him in their team to face Iran so if they can’t pick him for Iran, they won’t pick him for France or Germany in the knockouts… I think in a second round game, I actually think he’ll be better against a winger, I think he has his problems potentially when the balls in the centre or up the pitch, he’s not quite got his distances or positioning right.
“If you were going to play him, I’d play him against Iran, US and Wales. Playing him in that back five gives him the opportunity, I think him, Foden and Bellingham are generational talents, all three of them are out of this world talent-wise, they need to be given an opportunity.”
Carragher: “What you’re talking about there, chopping and changing, I actually think it’s more of a problem to chopping and changing personnel, it starts in a week and over in a month.
“So I actually think the systems not too big of a problem but swapping between Trent, Walker and Trippier, I think that’s more of a problem.
“The thing you’re talking about Trent, I understand it, at Liverpool when you talk about a luxury player, we normally associate it being a winger or a number 10, he has come through as a full-back, he was a midfielder.
“He moved to right full-back as a luxury and Liverpool are that good of a team, you see the best of him, crossing positions, getting on the ball, he does less defending – I’m with Gary in England aren’t as good as Liverpool.
“But they will do more defending, so we’ll see less of Trent going forward and more defending which is where he has problems at times.”