At 23 years of age, Trent Alexander-Arnold is already supremely successful.
The Liverpool and England defender has developed into one of Europe’s elite right-backs, displaying athleticism and playmaking abilities that are rare to find in his position.
However, away from the pitch, Alexander-Arnold’s grounding has proven key for him remaining level-headed, despite being a vital cog in one of the best football teams in the world.
While many in his position might be out spending their newfound wealth on cars, houses or entertainment, Alexander-Arnold’s focus is much closer to home.
He may be a local icon for Liverpool’s biggest team, but he still lives with his parents, doing the dishes and learning habits that help keep his life “clean and healthy.”
Staying in a place where everything is stable has helped him reach the heights he has, Alexander-Arnold explains.
“I always think young players rush things,” he told CNN Senior Sports Analyst Darren Lewis. “You start getting paid some money and young players always think the first thing is to move out, get a new car, stuff like that.
“And then the environment is just not the same. You’re living at home. You’ve got your parents to keep you in line and make sure things are clean and tidy, the dishes aren’t stacking up and you’re going home to a nice, clean environment and things like that.
“Whereas living at home (on your own), breakfast and dinner, you just think: ‘I’ll do that later.’ And then you come in from training and then you’re just not in a clean, nice environment. So I’ve never felt a rush to leave home. I’ve always had the right messages.
“I’ve just always enjoyed having family around me. And they’ve kept my feet on the ground and pushed me to the levels that I’ve gotten so far. So I don’t think there’s any rush for me to make a decision.”
Ever since he can remember, Alexander-Arnold has been a Liverpool fan.
From living just five minutes away from the team’s training ground — he remembers asking his mom to take him and his siblings to catch a glimpse of their “idols” through the cracks in the walls on their days off from school — to watching them at the weekends, he was in love with the club from a young age.
In celebration of Liverpool’s dramatic Champions League win in 2005, Alexander-Arnold was one of thousands who took to the city’s streets to welcome home their heroes in the open-top bus parade.
Although he was a massive fan, his own introduction at the club was one of pure luck. “It was like a half-term camp and the invite got sent to my school and it was like: ‘So who wants to go?'” he said.
“And as you can imagine, everyone in the classroom put their hand up. We had to pick names out of a hat, and luckily my name got picked out. I went along to it with a few classmates and after — I don’ I don’t know how long it was — I think maybe 10, 15 minutes, a scout went up to my mom and said: ‘We want you to start bringing him up here if you can?'”
And as he explains: “The rest is history.”
Since making his first-team debut in 2016, Alexander-Arnold has blossomed into one of the most dynamic fullbacks in the world, terrorizing defenses from a deep position with his precise crosses and accurate through-balls.
In his 161 appearances in the Premier League, he scored 10 goals, provided 45 assists and has a remarkable record of winning 114 games and only losing 19 times.
But despite that record, such has been the brilliance of Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, Alexander-Arnold and Liverpool’s trophy winning has been stymied.
Yes, they’ve won plenty during his time in the first team, but the Reds have been narrowly pipped to the Premier League title four times in the last five years — twice by just one point.
The nip-and-tuck battle between the two English juggernauts has become must-watch TV over the course of a season, with Alexander-Arnold admitting playing Man City is Liverpool’s “biggest game of the season,” despite traditionally having more intense rivalries with Everton and Manchester United.
“I think, historically, there’s always going to be that tension and the rivalries with Everton and with United. But I think right now, it’s for different reasons. I think there’s always going to be a dislike with Liverpool and Everton and Man United, ” he said.
“It’s always going to be that no matter where either team finishes in the league, whenever it’s going on, there are always very heated games and both fans really want to win it the most. But I think for different reasons, now, Man City is the biggest game of the season, the best team in England, one of, if not thebest team in the world as well.
“And, of course, they’re the team that set the pace, set the benchmark for the rest of the league. Four leagues in five years is something that not many teams can say we’ve done. So it’s difficult for us to look past them and look for anywhere else as motivation. Our motivation is if we stay in and around City, then over the last four or five years, you’re in a good place.”
Although last year was another successful season for Liverpool and Alexander-Arnold personally — with both FA Cup and League Cup winners medals added to the trophy cabinet — it ended on a sour note.
The game was delayed by 35 minutes as Liverpool fans struggled to get into the Stade de France, with the French police using tear gas on fans held in tightly packed areas.
After the match, despite the club’s account of events and details from the fans, Reds fans were blamed in part for the disruption, with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin saying “that the disturbances caused were related to a massive influx of spectators and an extensive number of false tickets.”
Senator Laurent Lafon, president of the Culture, Education and Communication Commission, which co-authored the report, blamed the violent scenes at the final on “a series of malfunctions that occurred in a rather vague administrative and decision-making framework.”
And for Alexander-Arnold and the rest of his teammates, he admits the whole situation was “strange.”
“The messages that were broadcast through the stadium were late fan arrivals and stuff like that… and you believe what you hear and see in those situations,” he said.
“Then it wasn’t until after the game, obviously, we actually found out the truth and what happened, what went on. But I think the way the fans have dealt with it — when it happened, during the game and after the game and the following months afterwards — has been outstanding.
“It’s something us as players and as a club, we’re really proud of, the way they’ve made sure the truth has come out. They’ve made sure that the fans are not just getting blamed for stuff that they’ve done.”