EPL

James defends 'great' England right-back rival Alexander-Arnold

By Sports Desk June 12, 2022

Reece James has said people who question Trent Alexander-Arnold's abilities "don't really know the game".

The highly-rated Chelsea right-back is in direct competition with his Liverpool counterpart for a place in Gareth Southgate's England team ahead of the World Cup later this year.

Southgate has an embarrassment of riches to pick from on the right side of his defence, with Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier also a part of his current squad.

James, who started for the Three Lions in Saturday's 0-0 Nations League draw with Italy at Molineux, said that while he wants to be his country's first choice, he does not agree with those who criticise Alexander-Arnold's defensive qualities.

The Liverpool man has regularly received uncomplimentary reviews for his defending, with some blaming him for the goal scored by Vinicius Junior against the Reds in last month's Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid.

However, the 23-year-old recorded 17 clean sheets in 32 Premier League appearances last season, more than any of his England right-back rivals, even on a per 90 minutes basis.

"I'll try everything I can [to be first choice]," James said. "Only my performances will be able to prove what I can bring. In these games and building into next season I'll hopefully be able to show that I'm ready to play every game.

"I make mistakes as well. I gave away a penalty against Hungary, so we are both still learning our trade. 

"Liverpool have 95 per cent of the ball and he defends less than I have to. People have a lot of stuff to say and don't really know the game. Trent is a great player."

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