Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold can be one of the world’s best ever right-backs if he works on his defending, says Gary Neville.
Alexander-Arnold, 23, has come under increased scrutiny and criticism this season as he has struggled for form.
He was picked for England recently but did not play against Italy and was dropped from the squad to face Germany.
“No full-back that I’ve ever seen in this country can do what he can do,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“So, if he can just work on those basic [defensive] things and get consistency, we won’t just have one of the best attacking right-backs this country has ever produced, we will probably have the best right-back the world has ever produced.
“This is a [Brazil legend] Cafu – that level of full-back, this is something unbelievably special.”
Former England right-back Neville played 85 times for his country and made 602 appearances for Manchester United.
He said there was an “imbalance” to Alexander-Arnold’s game, with the attacking element outweighing the defensive side.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp defended his “exceptional” player after his England omission by manager Gareth Southgate, but agreed there is “space for improvement” in Alexander-Arnold’s defensive game.
“I think Trent has to work on his defending,” said Neville. “I said it a few years ago that there was a lack of seriousness in his defending and there was a lack of alertness. At some point in his career, it will hold him back.”
Following the recent round of international games, Southgate said Alexander-Arnold’s “all-round game” was behind that of Newcastle United right-back Kieran Trippier.
There is a danger the Liverpool player could be left out of the England squad for the 2022 World Cup, but Neville thinks that could be a blessing in disguise.
“This is an important juncture of his career. What does he do, does he think I don’t have to do that, I don’t want to do that?” added Neville.
“There might be a negative of him not going to the World Cup [but] that might be the biggest positive of his career, if he can have five to six weeks here just literally being coached.”