England's Trent Alexander-Arnold says a 2015 trip to Chile still helps to inspire him

Wednesday 20 Mar 2019
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored his first England senior goal against USA at Wembley last November

Trent Alexander-Arnold pauses to reflect on what he saw in the Chilean town of Coquimba back in October 2015.

The England defender was in South America for the FIFA U17 World Cup and chose to make a trip from the squad’s base to see how a recent earthquake and tsunami had devastated the local community.

Fast-forward four years and things have changed drastically in the Liverpool man’s life.

He’s now a regular at Anfield and for England, but he admits he often thinks back to what he saw as a 17 year old who was working hard on chasing his dream of succeeding as a footballer.

“It was something to really take in and something I’ll never forget seeing, how the earthquake had hit and everything was just rubble,” recalls Alexander-Arnold.

Trent during his visit to the earthquake damage in Chile in 2015

“It was mind-blowing at the time but I think it’s good to be able to see those things and they’re the kind of things you never forget.

“I just wanted to be able to step back from the pitch in what was my first taste of a World Cup and what was going on on the pitch, to take in the local environment.

“It had all happened the month before we got there, and it makes you realise how lucky you are, when you see how life still carries on despite the damage that had been done.

“You’re already aware that from those younger teams, a lot of players don’t always make it into senior football whether it’s with England or their clubs.

“I think experiences like this always helped me focus on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do to make my dreams come true.”

And those dreams became a reality last year, when Alexander-Arnold broke into Gareth Southgate’s senior squad, played in the World Cup in Russia and ended 2018 with a goal at Wembley against USA and qualification for the Nations League semi-final after that dramatic victory over Croatia.

Alexander-Arnold has become a firm favourite at Anfield over the last two seasons

“It was a great month for us, it’s rare that you have two very good games like that so close together,” he adds.

“For me, they were both as good as each other, but they were different type of results in a different type of game.

“It was important to get the win in both of them, especially USA because it gave us a bit of momentum to go into the Croatia game which was so important for us.

“So we came out of both games happy and learnt a lot about ourselves and showed everyone else what we are made of.”

Thoughts of this summer’s Nations League games in Portugal have been parked for the moment though, with the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign set to start on Friday when England play Czech Republic at Wembley.

“It’s very important to start on a positive note and to get the ball rolling straight away,” he said.

“It’s the first game and whether it’s a major tournament or a qualifying campaign, it’s massive to start with a win and that’s what our aim is, to go to Wembley and get a win.

“We spoke about it straight away when we arrived, you’ve got to qualify first for any tournament.

“But we’re massively looking forward to this one, as hopefully if we do that, we’ll have a chance of playing games at Wembley and can make it feel as much like a home tournament as we can.”

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By Nicholas Veevers