Liverpool teenager Alexander-Arnold joins exclusive England World Cup club

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The defender was handed a start against Belgium in the Three Lions' final Group G fixture and it was a notable achievement

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s breakout season has now been capped off with him joining a small group of England internationals who have reached the highest levels at a tender age.

England and Belgium, having already locked up qualification to the last 16, made several changes to their starting XIs ahead of the Group G finale.

Alexander-Arnold was among those picked by England manager Gareth Southgate, and earned his first-ever World Cup start for the Three Lions in the process.

The start means the 19-year-old full-back has become just the fourth teenager to receive a start for England at the World Cup.

He joins Michael Owen in 1998, along with Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling in 2014, in that exclusive club.

That also makes Alexander-Arnold the third player to earn that distinction coming off a season for Liverpool, following in the footsteps of Owen and Sterling.

While Alexander-Arnold is the youngest England player in the XI, he’s by no means alone as Southgate went with youth against Belgium – at least in comparison to other England sides.

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The average age of the England side for the clash is 25 years and 207 days, which makes it the second youngest the Three Lions have ever started in a major tournament.

The England squad that started the 2002 World Cup match against Sweden, a 1-1 draw which featured a then 22-year-old Owen, remains the youngest the nation has fielded.

A victory would send this England squad through as group winners to a matchup against Japan in the round of 16, whereas a loss would see them face Colombia. A tie would see fair play decide who finishes first and who finishes second in Group G.

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