Trent Alexander-Arnold has named his Liverpool debut as the proudest moment of his career, while revealing how his mum 'burst into tears' before his first start in the Premier League back in 2017.
A part of the Reds academy since the age of six, Alexander-Arnold has developed into one of the globe's finest full backs since getting his big break under Jurgen Klopp over three years ago.
The West Derby born star has won the Champions League, Premier League and Club World Cup with Liverpool, established himself as England's first-choice right back, been a Ballon d'Or nominee and set a new assists record for a defender. All of which has made him a local hero on Merseyside.
Though one of the first names on any Liverpool teamsheet now, 21-year-old Alexander-Arnold revealed how his first-ever Premier League start (15 January 2017 against United) came as something of a shock.
“We trained on the Saturday, and then travelled to Manchester and stayed over,” Alexander-Arnold said, while discussing his rise to the top for Red Bull Pro. “Just a normal match day. And then we have a walk about three hours before kick-off, and the manager came over to me and put his arm round me and said, ‘Are you ready?’
"I was so confused. He said: ‘Are you in?’ I said yeah, yeah. And he said: ‘OK, well I need you to start today.’ He said my face dropped. That’s how I felt, I was so shocked. I went back to my room and called my mum and she literally just burst into tears.”
As the most successful academy graduate at Anfield since Steven Gerrard, Alexander-Arnold revealed how he was daunted at joining the first-team ranks and the help he received from captain Jordan Henderson.
“I was starstruck, I was nervous, I was really shy. Everyone tried to help me, they all understood how nerve-racking it was stepping up," he admitted.
"Hendo was big. I never really had an amazing bond with any of the lads because I’ve always been quiet, but he just made me comfortable being around them type of lads.
“He made me not be afraid to make mistakes, and not feel as though I’m not as talented as the other lads. After that I wasn’t overthinking asking for the ball...so I’d take more risks and, by doing that, I became a better player.”
Liverpool drew 1-1 at Old Trafford on Alexander-Arnold's Premier League debut, while the 18-year-old homegrown right back would go onto make 12 appearances in all competitions in 2016/17.
However, his very first Liverpool senior outing in any competition - the 2-1 EFL Cup win over Tottenham in October 2016 - remains his 'proudest' career moment.
He recalled: “They’d named the team [against Tottenham] and I was starting, and I remember being really confused because I hadn’t been expecting it.
“It was so nerve-wrecking because you’ve never played in front of 50-55,000 people before. But it was one of the best days of my life.
“I feel as though my debut was my proudest because, even though I always dreamed of winning the Champions League and winning trophies, first and foremost, you need to make your debut and I knew once I’d played that game, I was a Liverpool player. No one could ever take that away from me.”