Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville exchanged heated views over Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold on Monday Night Football.
The pundits were discussing England’s right-back dilemma ahead of the match between Everton and Crystal Palace earlier on Monday. And things got very lively when the situation around Alexander-Arnold’s recent omission from the squad cropped up.
The Reds star was not included in Gareth Southgate’s most recent squad. That has raised major doubts over his place at the upcoming Euros.
Neville began by discussing all of the potential options for England in that position. He looked at the stats for Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Reece James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
He concluded: “From Carragher saying that basically no-one wanted to grow up to be a Gary Neville, we’ve come a long way. We’ve got hundreds of them here!
“We have got five right-backs and Gareth Southgate is in a position whereby, it’s unbelievable. We’ve got that many talented right-backs to pick from. I can see the conundrum and the challenges that Southgate has got.”
Carragher was then asked if he would select Alexander-Arnold in the England squad.
He replied: “Yes. He’s a unique talent. He’s not the same as any other full-back. Most full-backs, even the attacking ones, the greatest ones going forward…it is up and down in a straight line.
“He’s a playmaker. I’ve said he’s Kevin De Bruyne playing right-back. That’s what he is. He’s different.”
But as the debate continued, Neville gave his verdict on why Southgate seems reluctant to start the Liverpool man.
The case for Trent
He explained: “I’m saying to myself: who are England going to be playing? Germany. Belgium. France. Portugal.
“Who is he going to be playing against? Hazard. Mbappe. Sane. Jota. Ronaldo.
“Who do they want to play against? James, Walker or Trent? They’ll say: ‘I’ll let Trent go forward, he’ll leave space in behind me. I’ll have Trent’.”
Carragher jumped in and said: “Well you’re making the case for him not going. Would you not take him?”
Neville began: “No, I personally would take him…”
Carragher then added: “Hang on, you’ve just made the biggest case I’ve ever heard in my life for the reason why he wouldn’t go and why Gareth Southgate’s not picking him!”
Neville replied: “Did you listen to the question I was asked? I was asked the question why would Gareth not take him – so I’m answering that question!”
And Carragher fired back: “You would take Trippier ahead of him? I’m asking you. You’re a right-back!”
Backwards and forwards
The duo continued their row, with Neville adding: “Let me finish the answer to the first question!”
Carragher responded: “We mightn’t have time. What would you do? Forget Gareth Southgate.”
Neville: “My point is: I’m thinking, if he is playing against Mbappe, Hazard, Sane, Ronaldo or Jota in the semi-final of a tournament this summer – who does Gareth Southgate want out on that pitch?”
Carragher: “Who does Gary Neville want?”
Neville: “I’ve been asked a different question, give me a break!”
Carragher: “Oh honestly…”
Neville: “I think the reason he won’t take him is because he’s there to win a tournament – he will trust the players like Walker, Trippier in a back three or with a wing-back, maybe James because he has more power and strength to handle an Mbappe or Ronaldo. I don’t think he will take him.”
Carragher: “If you pick Kieran Trippier ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, that’s embarrassing.”