The long-term absence of Nathaniel Clyne has been a boon for Liverpool youngsters Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold. The two Academy prospects have alternated at the right back position to great effect under Jürgen Klopp. And it’s good to have a couple of the boys from Kirkby break through into the first team. It makes the future look bright. But Alexander-Arnold has something that Gomez doesn’t. TAA is a local lad, brought up on Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher and You Never Walk Alone.
Alexander-Arnold’s connection to Liverpool runs deep. And he’s recently spoken about his relationship with the club and the advantageous position of having his hero Gerrard readily available for wide-eyed face time at the Academy.
“Whenever I am in the Academy or can go for a little chat with the coaches and staff for a little bit of advice or just a catch-up, I’ll see him and we’ll have a few words,” Trent said of Stevie.
“I’ll try to pick his brain a little bit on how I can get better, how can I improve. It’s always important for me to be learning every day and channeling that vital information. You try to pick it up and try to use it to your advantage.
“Whenever I see people who have been successful for the club and who are willing to give that advice, I always try to take it on board.”
Homegrown talent coming through the ranks is inspiring for supporters. Those are players that every Liverpool fan wants to see make it for the long haul. And those young players can feel that hope and encouragement coming from the crowd and in their day-to-day life on Merseyside.
Now, imagine that those encouraging words are coming from the very players you spent your youth idolizing. That’s a big boost.
Carragher has Alexander-Arnold in line for a spot on the England national team. And Gerrard added to the plaudits by sharing his confidence that Alexander-Arnold will continue to grow and put his stamp on this Liverpool team for the best years of his career.
“Growing up and him being a big figure in the club, and especially for me with him being an idol and being able to hear them special words coming out of his mouth about me was a special thing to read,” said Alexander-Arnold.
“I can only say thank you for the kind words.”
And humility, to boot.
“I used to know what it feels like to watch a Scouse player on the pitch,” Trent added, “and homegrown players is always good for the club to see coming through.
“And when I was growing up they were the leaders. And the inspirations to me were Gerrard and Carragher mainly.
“And that was also a big reason I always wanted to make it at Liverpool because I’d seen them and what they meant to people.
“I always wanted to be that powerful of a person to influence so many people.”
There is a lot of pressure that comes with getting into a Liverpool side. And while youthfulness has it’s way of sauntering through that tension, Trent Alexander-Arnold may in fact be the local boy who genuinely has all the Gerrardian ingredients to be a force and proud mainstay for the Reds.
“If everything goes to plan,” says TAA, “then I don’t see me leaving the club.”