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Should England copy Germany’s Joshua Kimmich plan and play Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield?

Just like the Bayern Munich star, Liverpool's right-back was a midfielder in his (even) younger years

Always ask yourself, what would the Germans do?

England’s Nations League defeat to Netherlands didn’t burst the bubble of goodwill, but it did lay bare some areas in need of improvement.

Frenkie de Jong’s assured control highlighted Gareth Southgate’s need for midfield inspiration.

Budding superstar

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Budding superstar

Many reckon James Maddison will be introduced into the first team for September’s Euro qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Alternatively, what if England’s best midfielder is their right-back?

Trent Alexander-Arnold was the best player on the pitch during the laborious third-place play-off.

The 20-year-old Champions League winner has established himself as one of Europe’s best full-backs in the last 18 months.

He’s become such a pivotal member of Liverpool’s impressive side in such a short space of time it’s difficult to picture him in any other role.

20 years old and already the Champions League final is regular event in his calendar

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20 years old and already the Champions League final is regular event in his calendar

But we should not forget Alexander-Arnold made his name as a midfielder in Liverpool’s academy.

He only converted to right-back as that was the most accessible route to the first team.

It’s unlikely Jurgen Klopp will activate a reversion any time soon, given Alexander-Arnold’s success at full-back and Liverpool’s relative lack of problems.

Southgate, however, has pressing issues in midfield.

Lion cub

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Lion cub

The Three Lions coach also has several options at right-back with Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Aaron Wan-Bissaka lining up behind Alexander-Arnold.

Given this depth, Southgate may feel a slight weakening of his back four is an acceptable sacrifice for a possible solution in midfield.

It’s a risk; we have not seen Alexander-Arnold play in midfield in senior football yet.

But Southgate only has to look at one of England’s great rivals for evidence of a similarly successful experiment.

Echoes of Lahm

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Echoes of Lahm

Joachim Low persisted with Joshua Kimmich at the heart of midfield for Germany’s two recent qualifiers against Belarus and Estonia.

Die Mannschaft beat the former 2-0 before crushing the latter 8-0 with Kimmich excelling in both, albeit against low-ranked opposition.

The 24-year-old played the majority of his games at right-back for Bayern Munich last season, but he was a midfielder in his younger days.

Thriving in a new (old) role

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Thriving in a new (old) role

Like Liverpool, the Bavarians dominate most games meaning their full-backs are free to become pseudo-wingers.

Kimmich ended the Bundesliga campaign with 13 assists — Alexander-Arnold provided 12 assists in the Premier League.

Few would doubt the Liverpool youngster’s ability to play in midfield for England – mirroring Kimmich – from a technical perspective.

However, you suspect Alexander-Arnold the deep-lying playmaker wouldn’t have as many opportunities to cross the ball into the box from open play.

His crossing is his greatest asset and Southgate may feel it’s counter-intuitive to limit this avenue of attack.

Although a midfield role would allow Alexander-Arnold to attempt final balls from alternative angles — something not beyond his capabilities.

Beckham-esque

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Beckham-esque

Whether or not Alexander-Arnold is the unexpected answer to England’s midfield dilemma, a place in the first-choice XI is becoming increasingly fundamental.


NEXT: Okay, its time we addressed Eden Hazard’s massive bum