Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has said that he admired former Everton star Wayne Rooney when he was growing up.
Alexander-Arnold, 22, has become an unmissable part of Jurgen Klopp‘s team in recent seasons. Indeed, as a Liverpool fan born in the city, he started his journey in the club’s youth ranks at the age of six.
Tied in with his development as a youngster, though, was his admiration for several players during the 2000s.
Speaking at a Red Bull event, Alexander-Arnold has revealed that Rooney was among them. The former Toffees man, also from Liverpool, exploded onto the scene at Goodison Park before signing for Manchester United.
“I remember growing up, I was a Rooney fan,” the right-back said. “He was obviously a local lad but he had the hype at the time.
“I must have been about five or six when he’d broken into the first team. He was doing crazy things like ‘that’ goal against Arsenal.
“I remember watching [Thierry] Henry as well. My mum always says that I used to watch loads of Match of the Day – video tapes of old matches from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s.”
However, being a Liverpool fan, Alexander-Arnold revealed that Steven Gerrard was his true childhood hero.
Gerrard – who made his senior Reds debut a month after Alexander-Arnold was born in 1998 – won the UEFA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool during the noughties.
“Gerrard. He was everything to me,” the England international added.
“When I was growing up I just wanted to be him, no other way about it. I wanted to live how he lived, I wanted to play how he played, I wanted to kick a ball how he did.
“I’d walk down the road and I see an empty bottle and I’d run up and strike it, and shout ‘Gerrard!’. To be fair I think a lot of kids in the city were doing the same thing.”
Indeed, Alexander-Arnold has shown a similar penchant for passing and shooting to Gerrard. Several pundits have touted the full-back’s ability to step seamlessly into a midfield role.
Matip makes Klopp promise
Meanwhile, Joel Matip has backed himself to go on an injury-free run to help Liverpool through their injury troubles.
The Cameroonian has emerged as Klopp’s only senior fit and recognised centre-back, amid injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
And while Matip himself has a chequered fitness history, he believes that he is ready to step up for his team.