Trent Alexander-Arnold

History proves Trent Alexander-Arnold will come back stronger from Euro heartbreak

Robbie Copeland
Trent's Euro 2020 hopes have been ended
Trent's Euro 2020 hopes have been ended / Pool/Getty Images
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It would take a cold heart not to feel sorry for Trent Alexander-Arnold when he left the pitch against Austria.

After being left out of the England squad for the March internationals, the 22-year-old did everything he could to earn his way back in. After a long, arduous season in which he played an obscene amount of football, he took a breath, found himself, and came up with some of the form of his life.

He was like a player transformed as he played every minute of Liverpool's final ten games, and it was no coincidence that his return to prominence ran parallel to his side getting back to their best.

He popped up with a goal and four assists to fire the Reds back into the Champions League, and based on form alone, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would go to the Euros.

So there was a sense of justice when, after various reports to the contrary, he was named in Southgate's final 26. All was right with the world again, the natural order had been restored, and Trent was set for a summer of redemption in the eyes of his country. Yeah?

Nope.

The hardest season of his career had one final, killer blow to land. In the dying stages of his long-anticipated return to the international stage, he felt his thigh, and there went his chances of representing England when they go for European glory at home turf.

How on earth do you bounce back from that?

In all the years of training it takes to become an elite professional footballer, nothing prepares you for a set-back like this. It's hard for any player to be cut from a squad for a major tournament, but the circumstances of Alexander-Arnold's exit, coming just as he seemed on the precipice of vindication, will have cut him to his core.

But as sore as they are to take, these moments in your career can often be defining.

He's at the right club to know that: since arriving at the club in 2015, Jurgen Klopp has built a legacy on carving success out of heartbreak.

The Reds' Champions League success in 2019 only came after gut-wrenching defeats against Sevilla and Real Madrid in European finals, while their rampant title win the year after was preceded by the narrowest of races which Manchester City edged on the final day.

Klopp will already have been in his ear with that message, as will Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, whose presence at Kirkby this summer will undoubtedly help him along. The duo find themselves in similar positions, watching their country from afar while feeling they too should be on the front-lines with their teammates.

For Alexander-Arnold, it will be hard to take the positives from his absence from the Euros, but when the dust settles, he'll realise it's through no fault of his own.

Using it to drive him forward may be easier said than done, but Alexander-Arnold responds well to adversity. Just look at his form at the tail end of last season, after he was snubbed for the March internationals, or how he has risen to the occasion to become one of the world's best in his position after disappointments earlier in his Liverpool career.

This may be his biggest set-back yet, but if history tells us anything, it's that you don't want to be standing in the way of the rebound.


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