Virgil van Dijk says player welfare is ‘forgotten’ after Alexander-Arnold criticism


Trent Alexander-Arnold has won seven trophies with Liverpool including the Premier League and the Champions League

Virgil van Dijk says the welfare of UK players is “forgotten” amid criticism of Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold.

After an indifferent start to the season, much attention has been paid to the defender’s recent performances.

“Everyone here is very good at praising a player very high to the sky and knocking them down as hard as they can,” said Dutch defender Van Dijk.

“We have to deal with that as players.”

Van Dijk, 31, added: “We forget about the welfare of the players, we forget about those things and everyone talks about how we should all accept it.

“For him to continue to work, not only himself, but also other players, and to deal with it and show a reaction is what we need, all of us.

“For that, I think it’s important to back him and the manager and the club and the fans.”

Liverpool have struggled for form this season – winning just two of their seven Premier League games – but Alexander-Arnold’s display has caught the eye.

Former Manchester United defender said Gary Neville 23-year-old Alexander-Arnold has the potential to become one of the best right-backs in the world if he plays his defense.

After last month’s Nations League matches, England manager Gareth Southgate spoke of the Liverpool defender “full game” Kieran Trippier was behind Newcastle United right-back, with his World Cup place in doubt.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp responded by tagging Alexander-Arnold “exception” and saying that he would choose him in any team he managed.

Speaking after winning the Champions League on Tuesday against Rangerswhere he scored a free-kick, Alexander-Arnold said it was just playing on the pitch.

“Or what I try to always think positively,” he said bt sportsexternal link “People will say things, but for me it’s about going out there and helping the team win games.

“It’s been a slow season for me, but I’m excited for the season.”

According to Van Dijk, the debate surrounding Alexander-Arnold is typical of what today’s players have to endure, unlike those of previous eras.

“If the players of 10, 20 years ago were under the microscope that we are at this moment, many players would also be struggling,” he said.

“It’s always going to come at you and it’s not easy to switch off completely and put your head down, or you have to live under a rock and go to training and come home and go to the game and go back home.

“We have to face it but it’s not easy, let’s put it this way.”

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