Trent Alexander-Arnold is a “wonderful talent”, admits Danny Murphy, but the former Liverpool midfielder has refuted claims from Cafu that the 21-year-old full-back will someday be recognised as the best player in the world.
A Brazilian legend has claimed that an exciting talent currently filling the same position as he once graced will one day come into contention for FIFA Best and Ballon d’Or prizes.
Cafu has told FIFA’s official website of Alexander-Arnold: “He’s a sensational player, a rare talent.
“If he keeps playing the way he has been, he will be regarded as one of the best players in the world. He has the potential to win [The Best FIFA Men’s Player] award.”
It has been suggested that Alexander-Arnold may be moved into a more advanced role as his career progresses, with his creative qualities an obvious fit for a midfield berth.
Murphy is not convinced that even that would bring the England international into the reckoning for a Golden Ball, with Virgil van Dijk having shown in 2019 how difficult it can be for players whose game is not all about goals to land the most prestigious of individual prizes.
The ex-Reds star told talkSPORT of Alexander-Arnold and Cafu’s claims: “I think he could’ve praised him without talking about the Ballon d’Or.
“The Ballon d’Or is generally for the goalscorers and the superstars isn’t it?
“But he is a wonderful, wonderful talent…
“He won’t win the Ballon d’Or. I think even in a midfield position it’s difficult. Can he score goals from midfield and bend in free-kicks and open defences with his passing? Yes.
“But will that ever be enough to be enough to win a Ballon d’Or? [Luka] Modric won one, didn’t he?” Yeah, it’s possible, you never say never, but I don’t think so.
“There’s that much talent around at the moment, defensively you think a centre-half like Virgil van Dijk would probably be one of the few who has the capability.
“But he’s on a different level because he’s an out-and-out defender.”
Alexander-Arnold’s humble nature is likely to see him steer clear of any debate regarding claims to future awards, with the youngster fully focused on maintaining his current development curve and cementing a standing as one of the finest attacking full-backs on the planet.