Jude Bellingham, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alessia Russo have all fed into the design of the latest edition of Adidas' iconic Predator boot.

Meanwhile, the legacies of Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham – who helped make the boot famous in the 1990s and 2000s – have formed a key part of the "DNA" of the newest design, according to Adidas' category director for football footwear, Mahsa Aryan.

Bellingham has been wearing Predators during his incredible rise to superstardom at Real Madrid, while Liverpool's Alexander-Arnold joined Adidas' stable of athletes late last year.

Both of the England internationals have had their say in the design of the Predator 24, while England and Arsenal women star Russo has also given her feedback in what Aryan described as a "super close" working relationship.

Aryan told Stats Perform: "Over the years, I think where we have been able to succeed has been staying super close to our professional players.

"They obviously have a different level of understanding of how the game is evolving and obviously what their needs are as a result of that evolution and so we stay very closely connected to our clubs, to our key players and make sure we're having a constant conversation of what's working or what's not working.

 

"What's been really fun about the Predator 24 is we've had a lot of conversations throughout the creation, right from basically inception, all the way to the final sign-off that we had on the boots.

"We've had constant conversations with Jude, with the likes of Russo as well, so also the women's game [is] definitely just as important, and with Trent, obviously, he is a new key face who we're super excited to have and super excited that he wants to be such a key part of our launch of Predator."

However, Aryan stressed how keen Adidas were to remain connected to the past, with Zidane in particular playing a key role.

"But we've also maintained and stayed connected to our previous icons," she added: "So I had the pleasure of sitting down and really discussing the Predator 24, and future, with Zidane, for example, and getting a lot of his thoughts, not just from the perspective of an iconic player of the past, but what he sees in the game now.

 

"When you think back into the late 90s, into the early 2000s, there were a lot of, let's call it disruptive players for football footwear, and you could see that was really the evolution of the old style of football, going into the new style.

"It was like the last generation of when football was all about power and all about the specific set pieces and now it's become so much more dynamic. I think those personalities are heavily driven into what the Predator has been, but also the DNA of it, definitely coming from the Zidanes and Beckhams of the world."

The Predators have certainly helped Bellingham thrive at Madrid this campaign. The midfielder has already scored a remarkable 17 goals in just 24 games across all competitions, while adding a further six assists. Alexander-Arnold, meanwhile, has set up eight goals for Liverpool with his quality deliveries.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will be sidelined for several weeks with a knee injury, Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has confirmed.

Alexander-Arnold suffered the injury during Sunday’s 2-0 FA Cup victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with Fulham at Anfield, Lijnders said: “First of all, some not-that-good news, Trent hyper-extended his knee during the last game.

“So he has a little tear in the lateral ligament of his knee and he will need time to recover. He had a scan and he will be out for a few weeks, so let’s see after that.

“He will get some rest and then hopefully he can come back to where he was. Because this guy was decisive in all the games and was the one who created constantly for us from deep and gave the team a high level of flexibility.

“We will really miss him.”

Lijnders also revealed that Virgil van Dijk is available again after missing the Arsenal game due to illness, but Dominik Szoboszlai remains sidelined.

Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal need a psychological “reset” after they could not capitalise on chances in their 2-0 FA Cup third-round loss to Liverpool at the Emirates.

The Gunners dominated the first half but Jakub Kiwior conceded an own goal after 80 minutes before Luis Diaz’s neat finish in second half added-time was enough for Jurgen Klopp’s men to claim victory.

Arteta’s side now have just one win in seven matches across all competitions and the boss agreed his side risk falling into a mental slump after failing to find the finishing touch.

He said: “Probably it has (become a psychological issue). Especially after today, more than it was against Fulham or West Ham before that. That’s why I think we need to reset. This break is good. It comes in a good time.

“We’re going to as well feel how we feel and how I feel about them in difficult moments. Hopefully I can see that from other people too. When things are going well they jump on the train. Now things are difficult, let’s see where they stand.

“We haven’t capitalised. Not just today, but in the last few games as well. That’s why we’re not winning games. Merit-wise there is no question that we deserve to win the games but the results are very different.

“But when my team plays with that courage and attitude against probably the best team in Europe right now in terms of momentum what can I do but stick by them and support them?

“What we need to do now is stick behind those players, give them some love, train them and make sure they visualise something very different to what is actually happening now. They’ve done it. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel, because they’ve done it.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was delighted by his side’s second-half reply, but brushed aside any suggestion he might look at the result as a harbinger for the Premier League title race, or even a boost for the Reds’ confidence in that chase.

He said: “No. I can’t (read into it). It doesn’t mean nobody can, but I can’t. We don’t have a problem with belief and confidence, we are not really bothered about the things you are talking about because we can read the calendar.

“We see it’s January; it’s cold outside, stuff like this, and you just have to stay warm and play as good as you can, and that’s what we try.”

Klopp was more forthcoming about his squad, rattling off a list of injured and absent, including Virgil van Dijk, who was ruled out with illness before the contest but remains a “hopeful” return for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg with Fulham.

He added: “It’s a tough game, nobody comes to Arsenal and wins just like this [clicks fingers], so in this game there will be difficult moments [and] if we start in these moments – which humans very often do – [looking] for excuses and then we realise who else is not here, it’s normal that we have these problems, then we are screwed.

“But if you know these kinds of things you can avoid it – and that’s what we did. The boys enjoyed the game, at least in the second half. That’s really cool. Staying in a game that looked in the first half like that, then growing into a game, is a pretty special thing to do.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold hailed Liverpool’s late victory after their 2-0 win over Arsenal in the FA Cup third round.

Jakub Kiwior conceded an own goal after 80 minutes before Luis Diaz’s neat finish in second half added-time was enough for Jurgen Klopp’s men to claim victory.

Liverpool struggled to get going in the opening 45 before they found their rhythm late on to book their place in the fourth round.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Alexander-Arnold said: “It was a huge win. We had a lot of players missing today. We came here with one objective, which was to win and to get into the next round and we have done that with two late goals.

“We had chances and we changed things at half-time internally. We came out and played football, created chances, the changes we made had an impact for us.

“There were times in the first half where we were a bit naive. We had mistakes, a sloppy pass here and there.”

Alexander-Arnold’s whipped corner led to Kiwior nodding the ball past Aaron Ramsdale and into his own net.

He added: “The inswingers (crosses) you want to make as difficult as possible and that’s the aim, to make it as hard as possible for them to clear the ball. Any flick from one of their players could potentially go in.”

Liverpool continue to battle on four fronts after Jakub Kiwior’s own goal and a stoppage-time strike by Luis Diaz sent them through to the FA Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win at Arsenal.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were without captain Virgil van Dijk and Mohamad Salah, but after they were able to ride their luck in north London, stand-in skipper Trent Alexander-Arnold’s excellent late cross forced the opener and Diaz was able to wrap up a hard-fought victory with a powerful late finish.

It inflicted a fourth defeat in seven matches on Arsenal, who fired another blank despite creating a plethora of chances at the Emirates to leave manager Mikel Arteta with problems to solve ahead of their short mid-season break.

The two Premier League title rivals – choosing not to wear red in support of Arsenal’s anti-knife crime initiative – played out a 1-1 draw at Anfield a fortnight ago and while both managers picked strong teams, a handful of changes were made with Aaron Ramsdale given the nod.

The Gunners goalkeeper was immediately into the thick of the action but in an attacking sense with a wonderful pass sending Reiss Nelson through on goal although he could only fire into the side-netting after rounding Alisson.

Nelson had been given a rare starting berth with Eddie Nketiah dropped and Gabriel Jesus out with a knee injury, which resulted in Kai Havertz leading the line.

Havertz tested Alisson with an early curled effort before the opener should have arrived in the 11th minute.

Bukayo Saka robbed Joe Gomez of possession and found the unmarked Havertz, who teed up Nelson and while Ibrahima Konate slide in, Martin Odegaard was first to the loose ball but he crashed an effort against the crossbar and Liverpool survived.

Klopp’s side waited until midway through the first half for their opening chance when Darwin Nunez headed wide from a Harvey Elliott corner.

It did not mark a shift in the ascendancy though with Havertz wasting a fine opening before Alisson tipped over a stinging drive from Ben White.

From the resulting corner Saka picked out Havertz at the back post, but the Germany international headed wide from six yards.

Not even treatment for Liverpool’s young defender Jarell Quansah halted Arsenal’s momentum with Havertz again denied by Alisson a minute before half-time.

Arsenal very nearly paid for their first-half profligacy when Cody Gakpo teed up Alexander-Arnold but the stand-in captain struck the crossbar with his superb 16-yard strike to ensure it remained goalless at the break.

Liverpool initially came out with improved intent for the second half and Curtis Jones curled over before Nunez flashed an effort wide.

Normal service soon resumed with Saka only able to hook over from a Havertz cross, before Alisson showed his class on the hour mark. Another Havertz delivery took a deflection off Quansah and looked to be heading in until the Reds goalkeeper brilliantly clawed the ball away, with Saka slicing wide on the follow-up.

Frustration was growing at the Emirates and as Klopp turned to his bench with Diogo Jota and Ryan Gravenberch introduced, Arteta made his first roll of the dice.

Gabriel Martinelli’s entrance injected renewed hope for an agitated home crowd, but Ramsdale was called upon with 13 minutes remaining to push wide a low effort by Diaz.

Jota headed against the bar from Alexander-Arnold’s resulting corner and yet his next delivery produced the breakthrough.

Odegaard fouled Gravenberch close to the byline and Alexander-Arnold’s fine inswinging cross was headed beyond a diving Ramsdale by the unfortunate Kiwior.

Arsenal pushed for a late leveller but Liverpool’s place in round four was confirmed when Diaz smashed home after a slick counter-attack in the fifth minute of added-time.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed their dramatic late 4-3 Premier League win over Fulham as a “game you will never forget” after his side scored twice in the final four minutes of normal time.

The hosts looked to be heading for a first Anfield defeat since February – when Real Madrid, no less, were victorious – only for Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold to snatch an 11th-successive home win this season.

It was just reward for Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool’s vice-captain, as his brilliant free-kick to open the score was credited as a Bernd Leno own goal after the ball went in via the underside of the crossbar and the goalkeeper.

Alexis Mac Allister’s first goal for the club since his move from Brighton in the summer was even better – a rising 30-yard drive into the top corner to re-establish their lead after former Liverpool forward Harry Wilson had equalised.

But more shaky defending allowed Kenny Tete to make it 2-2 before half-time and substitute Bobby De Cordova-Reid thought he had snatched three points in the 80th minute, only for Liverpool to produce a late rally.

“The feeling after the game was exceptional. During the game it was slightly different in moments,” said Klopp.

“I told the boys after the game turned out, the game we saw, because we were a bit dumb.

“But at 3-3 everyone could see the boys wanted more and because we were a bit lucky today, we got it.

“An outstanding experience for everyone who was here. I don’t think anyone would have thought before the game that Liverpool v Fulham will be a game that you will never forget in your life. But… you’re welcome.

“I never saw a competitive game with this amount of ‘worldies’. Trent’s free-kick: unbelievable. Macca, before the game you could see his foot was right today and I thought today, ‘You better try it’ and he obviously thought the same.”

The win was not without setbacks however with centre-back Joel Matip expected to be sidelined for some time with a knee problem.

“We lost today Joel and we have obviously no scan yet but after all you hear and can see that will not be a short one. Unlucky, but we have to get through this,” added Klopp.

Fulham boss Marco Silva saw his side end the week having scored six times in two Premier League matches – after just 10 in their previous 12 – and was frustrated not to have got something from their trip to Anfield.

“Clearly we deserved much more from the game than what we took,” he said.

“To come to Anfield and play the way we did – twice we scored to equalise – and then at the end of the second half to be able to score a great team goal and be leading is not an easy thing.

“We know the game is never 100 per cent under control against these types of sides and these types of crowds but the game was more or less under control.

“(Then) one long ball, a good second ball from them and another great finish from the edge of the box and in that moment I knew it was the end of the match.”

Virgil Van Dijk has weighed into the debate over Trent Alexander-Arnold’s best position by proclaiming his Liverpool team-mate as the complete package.

Alexander-Arnold delivered another reminder of his attacking talents as he got forward to strike a fine equaliser for the Reds in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at champions Manchester City.

The 25-year-old right-back had spent a lot of a tight Premier League encounter in defensive mode, trying to contain City’s tricky Belgium winger Jeremy Doku.

It was a sweet moment for Alexander-Arnold after plenty of debate over the past fortnight over whether or how he can fit into the England team.

Van Dijk, the Liverpool captain, said: “I think everyone this season, as a defender, one v one against Doku will have a tough afternoon. He’s a very good dribbler.

“But I don’t think he had a tough afternoon on the whole. It’s how you defend them together and try to get two v one in situations and, in the end, I’m pleased for him that he got the equaliser.

“He offers a lot defensively and, obviously in possession, he has qualities that are very special and he shows that as well, so he has the complete package.

“He has to keep doing what he’s doing, keep improving, keep that high standard he has for himself and we all have for him as well.”

Alexander-Arnold has expanded his game over the past year, not only playing as a conventional attacking full-back but also in a hybrid defence-central midfield role.

His recent England outings against Malta and North Macedonia were also in midfield and Van Dijk admits he does not know where he will ultimately end up.

“I don’t know, that’s for the coaches that work with him,” said the centre-back. “I think for the moment he’s playing just fine where he is right now.

“He has that freedom to mix it up and he has to do that because you see teams are working it out at times, so he has to be able to switch from staying on the outside and going on the inside as well.

“I think it’s a good learning curve for him as well and (on Saturday) he did that well because obviously he was playing against one of the most in-form wingers at the moment.”

Saturday’s result kept Liverpool within a point of title favourites City and, after the frustration of failing to challenge last season, Van Dijk hopes the 2020 champions can push them much closer this time.

The Dutchman said: “It’s no secret we want to challenge for everything we are competing in and this year we are looking consistent, something we were missing last year.

“But we are in November with a difficult period coming up, difficult games ahead of us. Anything can happen but hopefully, if we don’t get many injuries or no injuries, we have to confident and give it everything.”

Jurgen Klopp hailed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performance as “super influential” after the right-back snatched a draw for Liverpool at Manchester City.

The England international struck a fine equaliser as the Reds held the champions 1-1 in a tight encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Erling Haaland had put City ahead with his 50th Premier League goal from just 48 appearances – a new record – but Alexander-Arnold, having come through some tough moments against the tricky Jeremy Doku, changed the script 10 minutes from time.

Having stepped into midfield, the 25-year-old took a touch and fired into the bottom corner from outside the area to peg back City and allow Arsenal, courtesy of their victory at Brentford, to take top spot.

It was a strong reminder of Alexander-Arnold’s talents after an international break in which there has been much debate over how he can be most effectively deployed by England manager Gareth Southgate.

Liverpool boss Klopp said: “Trent was super influential. Not only in the goal – around the goal, in all situations he was a really important player. He played a really good game.

“We changed it, with the position. We made it more clear where he has to be in these moments.

“He did that really well and had still his moments with Doku where he was really strong in the one-on-one situations.

“You could see in a lot of moments how difficult it is against him, he is a really good dribbler. Trent was pretty influential in a good way.”

Alexander-Arnold’s leveller not only took the gloss off Haaland’s achievement – the previous quickest player to a half-century was Andy Cole in 65 games – but also denied City a share of another record.

Pep Guardiola’s side had won their previous 23 home games in all competitions, stretching back to a draw against Everton last December, and another would have equalled Sunderland’s record for an English top-flight side set between 1890 and 1892.

City, however, were the most dominant side, racking up 16 attempts on goal to Liverpool’s eight and felt aggrieved when a Ruben Dias goal was ruled out for a foul on goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who had an afternoon to forget.

Alisson had been at fault for City’s opener, made numerous other mistakes in the game and picked up a hamstring injury late on.

City defender Nathan Ake said: “I think we wanted more. We felt OK, we felt solid. We didn’t create too many chances but I think we controlled the game way more than we did against Chelsea, which was more up and down.

“We tried to create some chances. Just before their goal we created a very good one.

“We know they have the quality where they can – suddenly out of nothing – score a goal but, in the end, it is frustrating that one shot from distance goes in and you draw the game.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his side passed an important test coming back to draw 1-1 at Manchester City but stressed there will be bigger challenges to come.

The title rivals could not be separated as City failed to capitalise on a number of chances after Erling Haaland’s record-breaking 50th Premier League goal and Trent Alexander-Arnold scored an 80th-minute equaliser.

“For us I think we passed a test today, I am not sure if it was – the – test,” said Klopp.

“Last year with a team that played long together we got completely under the wheels here (losing 4-1) and had no real chance. Today we had a chance.

“I am not silly, I see the game, and if you ask who was more likely to win the game it was City, obviously, but we had our moments and we won games with lesser chances against City.

“We don’t check if we are as good as City but it is not that I look at our side and say ‘That’s the finished article’ because I saw a lot of performances I was not overly happy with.

“It is a super-difficult week (after the international break) so how can you judge that?”

Liverpool were unusually passive in the opening hour and when Haaland brought up his Premier League half-century in only his 48th appearance – 17 quicker than anyone else – the hosts were in full control.

But the visitors improved after the break and after their opponents missed a number of chances Alexander-Arnold equalised with a sweetly-struck shot from the edge of the area.

“I didn’t like the body language too much in the first half,” added Klopp.

“I know it is part of the circus; preparing the most difficult of the season away at the Etihad with just one session is really a challenge.

“Maybe I am just not good enough, that is absolutely possible, but it is really tricky to do it in 30 minutes on the pitch and 45 in a meeting.

“We needed the first half to understand even more about that and we improved in details, which makes a difference, and scored a goal and brought it over the line and I’m very happy with that.”

Injuries to Diogo Jota and, potentially more significantly, goalkeeper Alisson Becker were of some concern, however.

“I hope it is not that serious but I have not clue what it is. He said he only felt a little bit but we have to wait for the scan,” said Klopp of his Brazil international.

The Liverpool manager also played down a post-match confrontation between Darwin Nunez and City boss Pep Guardiola.

“This situation on the pitch is nothing to do with the historical fierce rivalry, I don’t think Darwin Nunez knows anything about it,” said Klopp.

“Just emotions. I was not involved – surprisingly – but I love them both so I just tried to calm the situation down without knowing 100 per cent what happened as I didn’t understand a word.

“Pep wants to win, we want to win and then both didn’t win so no-one is really happy and these things can happen.”

Guardiola also dismissed the incident, noting that Nunez was “stronger than me”, and preferred to praise his side despite failing to close out victory.

“I’m incredibly pleased with the performance because in seven years we know exactly how tough they are and how good they are,” he said.

“We played really good because I know against which team we are playing. They are excellent. I admire Jurgen a lot, he knows that. That’s why after many years, we are able still to do it and be hungry.

“How many chances did we create? Seven, eight, nine? We were incredibly good in all departments. It’s a pity but I said to them (the players) we’re not going to win or lose the Premier League today.

“They (Liverpool) are happy, we are a little less happy. I’m really pleased and so proud of my team.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold cancelled out Erling Haaland’s 50th Premier League goal as Liverpool grabbed a point against champions and title rivals Manchester City on Saturday.

The England international struck 10 minutes from the end of a tight encounter at the Etihad Stadium after Haaland’s landmark strike looked like extending City’s record home winning run.

City had won their previous 23 games on home turf in all competitions, a running dating back to a visit from Everton on New Year’s Eve last December.

Alexander-Arnold’s late equaliser also spared the blushes of goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who had a day to forget having gifted Haaland his opener and committed several other errors.

Haaland had shown no mercy as he netted in the 27th minute, reaching his half-century of goals in the competition in just his 48th appearance, a new record.

Alisson, who was in goal for Brazil in their controversial game against Argentina in Rio on Wednesday, looked sluggish from the start.

He presented Phil Foden with an early opportunity when he gave the ball away but escaped as the England midfielder shot tamely.

At the other end, Ederson palmed away a Darwin Nunez header but Alisson had another worrying moment when he dithered on a back pass and had to scramble clear under pressure from Haaland.

Haaland made sure he was punished when he blundered again.

Firstly Alisson slipped as he attempted to launch the ball upfield and found only Nathan Ake, who charged through some weak challenges to feed Haaland.

The Norwegian scuffed his shot slightly but it was still too powerful for Alisson, whose weak hand to could not prevent it finding the bottom corner.

Nunez hit the side-netting from a tight angle as Liverpool responded but the visitors were unable to consistently trouble City.

The champions threatened again before the break but this time Alisson did well to push away a low effort from Foden.

City went close again after the restart when Julian Alvarez spurned the chance by blazing over after good work by Jeremy Doku.

Liverpool struggled to muster a meaningful threat with Virgil Van Dijk’s header from a corner not troubling Ederson.

Alisson was given a major reprieve after another howler. The Brazilian spilled the ball from a corner under little obvious pressure and Ruben Dias poked in but the goal was disallowed for a foul by Manuel Akanji.

Liverpool made the most of the let-off to equalise on 80 minutes with Alexander-Arnold’s fine strike.

Mohamed Salah laid off on the edge of the box and the England international took a touch before drilling a shot across goal into the bottom corner. He celebrated by putting a finger to his lips in front of the City fans.

City applied plenty of late pressure with Alisson, who appeared injured, struggling to clear his lines.

Haaland almost grabbed a winner in the eighth and final minute of stoppage time but his glancing header flew narrowly wide.

Liverpool vice-captain Trent Alexander-Arnold believes performances this season provide encouraging evidence they can again push Manchester City all the way in another epic title battle.

After a summer midfield rebuild following a fifth-place finish it was generally expected the realistic aim was to regain their Champions League status but just one controversial defeat sees Jurgen Klopp’s side head into Saturday’s match at the home of the Premier League leaders in second place.

The tantalising prospect is Liverpool will at the very least sustain a challenge like that of 2018-19 and 2021-22, when City pipped their north-west rivals by just a single point, or even go one better like in 2019-20 when they won their first title in 30 years.

But to do that they will have to continue to produce an unerringly-high level of consistency and Alexander-Arnold is well aware of that.

“Last season wasn’t good enough. We brought new players in, it was about adapting as quick as possible and making sure we laid a good foundation at the start of the season,” he said.

“We are in a really strong position and results and form-wise we are doing enough to stay as close as possible to the top of the table.

“So far we’ve performed in a way that is how you would expect someone who can win the league to perform and if we carry this on we should be in and around it come May.

“If that wasn’t the case I would be here saying ‘I want to get back in the top four,’ because, genuinely, there is nothing wrong with that for this team, a team that has just finished outside the Champions League places.

“There is a rebuild going on, a lot of senior players have left, and it would be very normal to say ‘Get back in the top four and push on from there,’ but it (challenging for the title) is something that we believe we can achieve.

“If it doesn’t happen, we have ourselves to blame. We have built a great foundation, it is just about consistency.

“The hardest thing in football is consistently winning games but we have shown we are more than capable of passing (that test).”

While outside observers may have lowered their expectations of Liverpool after their slump, by their own high standards, last season that has not been the feeling within the squad.

Despite the changes made to the personnel – with Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch creating a whole new midfield – Alexander-Arnold said there were plenty of players who had gone head-to-head with City enough times to know what is required.

“Our aim as a team is to win the league and that’s the aim again this season,” he added.

“Our ambition is to be as successful as possible and to maximise the potential we have got as a team and as a club.

“At the start of last season it was the same as at the start of this season: our ambition was to win the league.

“We were nowhere near good enough to get anywhere near that last year and that’s where we needed to put it right this year.

“I think the players who are experienced in being successful with the club all understand what it takes and what’s needed to even challenge a team like City.

“It was about getting that message across as quick as possible to the new players and young players coming in; that responsibility of we need everyone to perform and if we do get players who play really well over the course of the season it will get us closer to the top of the table.

“Last season there were too many of us guys who never hit the levels we were expected to and demand of each other, ultimately that’s how you end up being in fifth place.”

Kieran Trippier may be a long-standing member of Gareth Southgate’s England squad but given the level of competition at full-back, he is not taking his place at Euro 2024 as a given.

The Newcastle defender is now one of the senior men within Southgate’s ranks and has amassed 46 caps to date.

His only senior goal was the opener in the 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia with his ability to play on either side of Southgate’s defence keeping him in and around the team ever since.

Despite his consistency for club and country, Trippier is now arguably in the strongest pool of full-backs available to England.

In recent times Kyle Walker, Reece James and Ben White have played at right-back – with the versatile pair of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Rico Lewis also in contention – while Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell and Levi Colwill have operated on the left.

“I need to keep performing well for my club first,” he said of Euro 2024 selection.

“There are so many good full-backs in England at the moment, I need to focus on my own performances. Obviously I want to be there but I know I need to be playing at a high level to be successful.

“I’ve always believed in myself. I’ve always had challenges in my career. I’ve always been up against top right-backs for many years now and it’s just about believing in yourself.

“I think the demands on a full-back these days playing now is so much. You’ve got to get forward. You’ve got to go on the overlaps but ultimately, you’ve got to defend as well.

“I think there’s a big responsibility on full-backs the way we play in the Premier League now.

“I think you look at all the English full-backs, there’s incredible talent.”

Southgate has largely put faith in youth since taking the reins as manager in 2016, with Trippier now one of the elder statesmen in the current squad alongside fellow 33-year-olds Walker and Jordan Henderson.

He will be hoping to start again when England face North Macedonia in their final Euro 2024 qualifier on Monday night but, regardless of the changes made by Southgate, Trippier knows leadership does not necessarily come with age.

“It only seems like yesterday when I was first walking into camp, when Gary Cahill was here and Joe Hart and all the experienced players,” he added.

“Fast forward it to now, I’m one of the oldest so it just shows how quickly football goes.

“Even though I’m one of the oldest, we’ve got a lot of leaders in this room, you’ve got a lot of players playing at a high level.

“You don’t need to be 33 to voice your opinion or whatever it may be.

“We’ve got great characters and – the most important thing – a great togetherness in this squad.

“Everybody speaks whatever they need to speak and everybody listens. We’ve got a good, honest group here.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold believes he seized on an opportunity to impress England manager Gareth Southgate when he starred in a midfield role against Malta last season and his “newfound excitement” about the position has left him targeting a starting berth at Euro 2024.

Despite a host of eye-catching appearances at right-back for Liverpool as they won the Premier League and Champions League, Alexander-Arnold found his pathway to the England side blocked by strong competition from the likes of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James.

Southgate, though, wanted to give the marauding full-back a chance in midfield and, despite initially being criticised for doing so by club manager Jurgen Klopp, Alexander-Arnold has now started to operate in that role for Liverpool.

He could come into the England side that hosts Malta at Wembley on Friday night, with a number of other options missing through injury, and he is now listed as a midfielder when Southgate names his squad.

But it was the reverse fixture against Malta in June when Alexander-Arnold felt he had a chance to show what he could do in the middle of the park and he put on a fine show against the Group C minnows, scoring his second England goal in the process.

“I would say the Malta game was my best performance in an England shirt,” the 25-year-old said.

“It was one that I felt going into it that I had confidence. It was a big opportunity for me. I knew I needed to perform and I wanted to perform.

“I had spoken to the manager prior to the game, leading up to that camp specifically, about an opportunity and he explained to me there could be a potential opportunity in midfield going forward for me.

“When I heard those words, it ignited something within me. There was a chance for me to go out there and take it and I think that’s what I did. Hopefully I’ll be able to build on that.”

While he has made 287 appearances for Liverpool, Alexander-Arnold has just 21 senior England caps to date.

Now though, with Euro 2024 on the horizon, he wants to nail down a place in Southgate’s side and feels his new-look role gives him the best chance of doing so.

“Since we spoke in the summer, me and the manager, about a midfield opportunity and to see if we could make it work, there has been a newfound excitement for me,” he said.

“It is a huge opportunity and it is one I am grateful to have, but also making sure I take it. It still early days, I haven’t had much experience in there so I’m still learning on the job and it’s about picking it up as much as I can when I am in there.

“I’ve had some opportunities, I’ve had games, I’ve had minutes. But now I feel like there’s a real opportunity for me, especially in a role that I think will get the best out of me.

“Every game for me between now and the end of the season and any time I’m performing, it’s to earn a place to start in the Euros.”

Asked if going to the Euros as a midfielder was now a target, Alexander-Arnold added: “Massively so, it is something I think about often, it is something that motivates me.

“When I’m here, when I’m not here, I’m constantly thinking about trying to get into the team for the summer, how I can do that and how I can take the opportunities I’m given to make sure I’m part of the plans for the summer.

“It is a target I have set for myself and I think, with the help of the manager and the staff and analysts, it is something I can do.”

England face Malta at Wembley on Friday night with Euro 2024 qualification already sewn up but there are other issues that remain outstanding.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the main talking points ahead of the game.

Seeds of doubt

While a spot at next summer’s finals in Germany was assured with victory over Italy last month, Gareth Southgate’s side still have something to play for in the game against Malta and the trip to North Macedonia.

Only the top-five best performing nations throughout the qualifying campaign will be top seeds for the draw in Hamburg next month.

Four points across both fixtures should be enough, while six would confirm England’s place in the first pot, so there is still something to play for on Friday.

Southgate’s own reshuffle on the cards?

While Southgate has continually stressed the need to finish Group C strongly to ensure the aforementioned top seeding, he will know England are heavy favourites going into Friday’s game.

Having initially picked a strong squad for the fixtures, he may yet decide to give some of his fringe players a chance to impress.

The likes of centre-backs Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori, for example, will be pushing to start in place of the injured John Stones, while Ollie Watkins will be keen for another chance to show he can be the man to provide the goals if captain Harry Kane is unavailable.

New kids on the block

While some squad players could feature, there is also a chance for a number of debutants to stake their claim for a late run into Southgate’s thoughts for his 23-man Euro 2024 squad.

Although not included in the original list of call-ups for the forthcoming games, Southgate has added a trio of uncapped players to the squad after injury withdrawals.

That means Aston Villa defender Ezri Konsa, Manchester City teenager Rico Lewis and Chelsea’s Cole Palmer could all make their senior bows against the minnows of Malta.

Can Trent bridge the gap to midfield?

Having burst on to the scene at Liverpool as an attacking right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s attributes have long-seen him touted as a potential midfielder.

After struggling for minutes with England at full-back, Southgate played Alexander-Arnold in midfield in the reverse fixture in Malta and he starred with an eye-catching performance that included a fine goal.

Alexander-Arnold has since taken on more of a hybrid role at Liverpool, too, and is now listed on England’s squad sheet as a midfielder, so he may get another chance to shine there this time around.

Tributes to a 1966 great

The fixture against Malta is the first time England will have played since the death of Sir Bobby Charlton last month.

A 1966 World Cup winner who scored 49 goals in 106 caps, Charlton has been described as the greatest England player of all time, having also won the European Cup and three league titles at Manchester United.

Wembley will remember Charlton before the game on what will be an emotional moment for all those in attendance.

Wayne Rooney came off the bench to make his final international appearance as England beat the United States 3-0 in a friendly at Wembley on this day in 2018.

Earning a 120th and final cap, the former England captain was brought on for Jesse Lingard in the 57th minute, bringing down a distinguished international career.

Making his first appearance for England in two years, he nearly scored just minutes after coming on, but goals from Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson were enough to end his England career on a high.

At the time of his retirement, Rooney was the record goalscorer for England with 53 goals, an achievement which has since been overtaken by Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane, who currently has 61 international goals to his name.

Reflecting post-match, Rooney said: “It went as I imagined it. The players have been great, seeing how they’re working and I’m improving.

“It’s been great for me. I want to thank the FA and Gareth for giving me this opportunity, and the players.

“Tonight was a great way to finish off my international career. The lads played brilliant, a great game. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a goal. It’s something I’ll remember for a long time.

“I felt I fitted in well with the team, but I’ve had my time. Obviously it’s two years since I played. Tonight was a great night for me and my family. I’m proud to have played for England so many times and be the record goalscorer.”

After ending his international career, the former Manchester United and Everton forward called time on his domestic career at Derby, where he had been appointed player-manager before fully taking charge of the club in January 2021.

A stint at former club DC United in the MLS followed and Rooney was appointed manager of Championship outfit Birmingham last month.

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