Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp has reacted to England boss, Gareth Southgate’s decision to snub Trent Alexander-Arnold in his national team selection.
Southgate named Alexander-Arnold in England’s squad for their games against Italy and Germany during the international break.
But the Liverpool man did not play a single minute in either the 1-0 defeat to Italy or the 3-3 draw with Germany.
Chelsea star Reece James appears to be Southgate’s first choice for England’s right flank for the World Cup, while Southgate even admitted this week that Kieran Tripper is ahead of Alexander-Arnold in his pecking order.
But Liverpool’s German boss made it clear that he disagrees with Southgate’s decision and has hit back at suggestions that the 23-year-old is a poor defender.
During his press conference on Friday, Klopp was asked about Southgate’s decision to not play Alexander-Arnold, he said, “Do you really want to open this box? I mean it.
“You’re an English journalist, and we can now discuss selections, whatever, until the World Cup starts, it’s one of the reasons why you make massive stories of these kinds of things, why the team cannot prepare properly.
“If you ask me for my honest opinion, it will create headlines, that’s clear.
“You want that? It helps Germany, maybe, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t help England. I don’t know why we do that.
“It’s a situation – a manager picks a player or not, which I would decide, obviously, differently but I’m not in charge of this team and that’s the way it is.
“If you want to discuss it, I have a lot of things to say, but I’m really not sure it makes sense. We are fine here because it’s completely different. Obviously, I see him differently, that’s clear.
‘There are stories out there all the time, people talk about him saying he’s not a good defender, that’s not true, he’s a good defender. He doesn’t defend always good, that’s true as well, that’s what we’re working on, he’s a young player, he’s 23, and there’s space for improvement, definitely.
But I think really we only discuss it on the level we discuss it because his offensive impact is extreme for us, it could be for each team in the world I would say.
‘So from my point of view, whichever team I would coach in the moment, I would sign him because he’s exceptional. Is he always exceptional? No. But I’ve never met a player who’s always exceptional.
‘So that’s it now. The rest is now Gareth’s job to find a team. England are obviously blessed with a lot of really, really talented players in a similar position and it’s difficult to line them all up together.
“In this specific case it could work because Reece James can play in a three at the back, he did that for Chelsea pretty well. It’ll be interesting to see how they could interchange positions, it depends on how you play with three at the back, if you keep them deep then it’s a different story but if you want them to be involved in offensive situations then Reece James, even as a centre-back, would be involved in that. All these kinds of stuff, it’s tactical stuff, not too interesting.
“But again, it’s Gareth’s decision. He made a decision, again, all I can really say is I see it differently, but that doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong.
“I just see him every day and for Trent now that’s the most important thing, he came back, he was not in a party mood, he accepts the decision of the manager as well because he understands football pretty well, he’s an extremely smart boy, and did everything right.
“As a player, you can never offer more than what you can offer, then in football, there’s one guy who decides if that’s enough or not and that’s the manager. Here [at Liverpool] more often than not it is a case he’s picked, for England obviously not.”
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