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Reece James addresses Trent Alexander-Arnold rivalry after pundits’ disagreement

Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen recently disagreed over who should be England’s starting right-back, and now Reece James has responded to talk of a rivalry with Trent Alexander-Arnold

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Reece James has played down talk of a rivalry between him and fellow English right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The Chelsea and Liverpool defenders have both been called up to Gareth Southgate ‘s latest England squad, with debate over who will start at the 2022 Qatar World Cup emerging as a hot topic.

Pundits Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen recently took the sides of James and Alexander-Arnold respectively, although the battle is undoubtedly a close one.

Three Lions manager Southgate is blessed with a host of quality right-backs, including Manchester City ‘s Kyle Walker, who is also competing for the Premier League title at club level like the aforementioned duo.

Have your say: Who should play at right-back for England – James or Alexander-Arnold? Get involved in the debate.







James and Alexander-Arnold are competing to be England’s first-choice right-back



In a press conference on Tuesday, James, who has scored four goals and provided three assists in eight league games this season, was asked about putting club rivalries aside while on international duty.

“When we’re here, we’re one team,” the 21-year-old affirmed.

“Our aim is to win, no matter who we’re playing against. So we have to put that aside and focus on our task here.

Pressed to elaborate by a reporter, James admitted: “It’s not easy.

“We play most of our football for our clubs and we want to win wherever we are.”

Earlier this month, speaking on BT Sport, Ferdinand explained his argument for the Chelsea star being the main man for England.

“I think based on the way that we’ve seen Trent Alexander Arnold’s lack of use, then Reece James looks to be in the driving seat right now,” the ex- Manchester United centre-back claimed.





“In terms of delivery and output they’re both of a high standard, huge ability in both of them – off both feet as well.

“They both have dimensions in their game which is great but Trent just has something about him in terms of his finesse and range.

“He’s a fabulous footballer but he’s just got the range likened to Steven Gerrard.

“I have to say, talking about the England right-back position, I think it’s a genuine argument for Reece James to play.”

Former Liverpool striker Owen disagreed, however, backing Alexander-Arnold.

“The next stage of [England’s] evolution as a team is to get Trent into the team, attacking full-backs,” the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner stated.

“If we’re going to have a lot of the ball I’d play Trent.







Ferdinand and Owen disagreed over who is better



“I’m a big fan of Reece James and I think he’s a slightly better defender. [Alexander-Arnold] has more clubs in his bag than Reece James.

“You have two exceptional players there and really, I would narrow it down to those two.”

Southgate surprisingly omitted long-time favourite Kieran Trippier from his latest squad and has commented on his gluttony right-back riches.

“We’ve got fantastic competition for places,” he reasoned. “Kyle Walker was in the team of the tournament for the Euros.

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“Kieran Trippier, who we haven’t selected this time in order to give an opportunity to Reece James and Alexander-Arnold, has always performed well for us and has been a huge part in us getting to a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final.

“Reece and Trent are performing at a really high level. I also think that Tino Livramento has had an excellent start to the season,” Southgate noted.

“You’ve got Tariq Lamptey, you’ve got Max Aarons. We’ve just lost Matt Cash to Poland, who is another good young right-back.

“It’s an area of the team where we’ve got a lot of competition for places.”


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