This weekend, Trent Alexander-Arnold will be up against five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in a Champions League final.
After that, he’ll join up with England ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
Those two achievements put together would exceed many’s definition of ‘making it’.
Not bad for a teenager, eh?
Many players claim to have been born and bred in a football club, in a metaphorical sense.
For Alexander-Arnold, the phrase is as literal as it’s ever likely to be.
He was born a stone’s throw from Melwood, Liverpool’s training ground, and was spotted by club scouts when he was barely out of nappies.
Even at six-years-old he exhibited an innate understanding of the game.
Maturity beyond his years is what has taken him from an unconvincing Under-21 debutant, to the biggest game in club football, in two years.
It’s fitting that TAA, as he’s affectionately known among Liverpool fans, scored a stunning free-kick against Hoffenheim to ensure the Reds qualification for the Champions League.
He’ll be tasked with nullifying the threat of Real Madrid’s most potent weapon in Kiev.
Ronaldo is the Champions League’s all-time top scorer; he’s made the competition his own in recent years.
If Alexander-Arnold (as well Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Roberton) can keep the Portuguese phenomenon quiet, Liverpool have every chance of lifting the trophy.
Then the 19-year-old would have contributed significantly to first and last acts of a thrilling European campaign.
His grandmother may have dated Sir Alex Ferguson, but Alexander-Arnold is Liverpool through and through.
All fans love a homegrown hero, but none more so than the Anfield faithful.
Liverpool are a club with a strong sense of community, of which they are rightly proud.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane may be honourary, adopted Liverpudlians, but Trent is a pure Scouse lad.
Playing for Liverpool was his birthright.
In many ways, that makes him the most inspirational figure in the squad for fans in Merseyside.
He moved schools when he was 14-years-old, to one that facilitated his budding football career.
His frightening pace and athleticism were apparent even from his early teenage years.
Liverpool knew what they had; the Echo claim insiders were as excited about Alexander-Arnold as they were Raheem Sterling.
Steven Gerrard wrote in his autobiography: “Trent Arnold has a terrific chance of making it as a top professional.
“He’s quite leggy but he’s got a lovely frame and seems to have all the attributes you need.
“Trent is another Scouser and apparently, just as I tried to be John Barnes and Steve McMahon, he grew up pretending to be me while playing in the Merseyside parks.”
Already, he is being touted as a future Liverpool captain.
With some even labelling him a FEC (future England captain), such is his mentality and professionalism already.
It may feel like he’s been fast-tracked to the top.
But he’s certainly worthy of such treatment.
As the old saying goes: if they’re good enough, they’re old enough.
As is natural with inexperienced defenders, he has endured a few tough games.
Marcus Rashford caused him a few problems at Old Trafford.
And Wilfried Zaha got the better of him at Selhurst Park on a number of occasions.
However, more should be made of his excellent performance up against an in-form Leroy Sane in the Champions League.
The nature of Jurgen Klopp’s tactics mean the 19-year-old is given huge responsibility.
Salah stays high so that Liverpool can use his pace to break quickly and get in behind, while the midfield three stay relatively narrow.
If the opposition possess threatening left-winger, Alexander-Arnold is trusted to match him alone — no reinforcements, no doubling up.
Taking this into consideration, he’s had an even better breakout season than many realise.
Whatever happens in Kiev, there’s always the World Cup.
He may not be Southgate’s first-choice, but the experience alone will be invaluable.
Alexander-Arnold’s rapid progression means that, by the time the next World Cup rolls around, he could be near an extremely high peak.
The environment at Liverpool appears perfect for him to bloom.
No crushing pressure, no heavy expectation, just a collective will for him to succeed, for himself more than anyone.
Already doing Liverpudlians and Englishmen proud, the finished product could be a very special player indeed.
Dream Team World Cup has landed!
The greatest show on Earth just got that bit more exciting.
That’s because the Dream Team World Cup game is coming ahead of this summer’s tournament.
Dream Team World Cup
- Completely free to enter
- £50m budget and 20 transfers throughout the tournament
- £175k total prizepot (for UK players only)
- PRE-REGISTER FOR DREAM TEAM WORLD CUP NOW
The game officially launches on June 1 – but you can pre-register for the game now.
If you’re an existing Dream Team customer the World Cup game now appears in the app or you can enter here, but if you’re not follow these simple steps:
- Download the Dream Team app
- Create an account
- Click on the World Cup banner below in the app and follow the pre-registration instructions
From Russia with a whole lot of love.