Reece James Trent Alexander-Arnold EnglandGetty

‘He defends less’ - Chelsea's James slams Alexander-Arnold critics despite competition with Liverpool right-back for England spot

Reece James has sought to defend England right-back rival Trent Alexander-Arnold from any criticism, with two men competing for the same spot in Gareth Southgate’s squad bringing different qualities to the fold.

They are similar in some ways, with both showcasing useful delivery from the flanks, but a home-grown star at Liverpool is considered to be a better attacking option than an academy graduate at Chelsea.

James boasts a slight edge when it comes to defensive duties, but he says that is merely because he has more do in the department at club level and is eager to point out that a star turn at Anfield remains a “great player” regardless of what any detractors may think.

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James vs Alexander-Arnold: Who is the best right-back?

James, who earned his 12th England cap when starting a 0-0 UEFA Nations League draw with Italy, has said of the questions that continue to be asked of Alexander-Arnold: “I make mistakes as well. I gave away a penalty against Hungary so we are both still learning our trade.

“Liverpool have 95 per cent of the ball and he defends less than I have to.

“People have a lot of stuff to say and don't really know the game. Trent is a great player.”

James vs Alexander-Arnold: Who gets the nod for England?

Alexander-Arnold, who has taken in 17 appearances for the Three Lions, was included from the off in England’s 2022 Nations League opener against Hungary.

He has continued to star for Liverpool at club level, but faces fierce competition for places in Southgate’s plans.

James is an obvious rival for his favoured right-back role, but the likes of Manchester City star Kyle Walker and Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier – who has been used on the left of late – are also in the picture.

It remains to be seen who will get the nod when another shot at global glory is taken in on Qatari soil later this year, with James adding on his bid to become a go-to option: “I'll try everything I can [to be first choice].

“Only my performances will be able to prove what I can bring.

“In these games and building into next season I'll hopefully be able to show that I'm ready to play every game.”

England will be back in action against Hungary on Tuesday, and have further Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany to come in September before opening their 2022 World Cup campaign against Iran on November 21.

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