Virgil van Dijk has praised Liverpool teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold for how he has responded to the criticism he has received in recent times.
Liverpool have made a disappointing start to the season, and Alexander-Arnold has been blamed for that as much as anyone in the squad.
The right-back has been criticised for his defensive work and he is still used sparingly by England boss Gareth Southgate.
Against Rangers though, Alexander-Arnold was back to his best, opening the scoring with a free-kick before being one of the stand-out players for the rest of the match.
Van Dijk has praised his team-mate’s response to what he feels is unfair criticism and says those within the club never doubted him.
“We know the quality he has and he showed it again today,” said the Dutchman.
“But I’ve been in the UK now for eight, nine years and everyone here is very good to praise a player very high up to the sky and let them fall as hard as they can. That’s what we, as players, have to deal with. Everyone is talking about how we should accept it.
“For him to just carry on working – not only him but other players as well – deal with it and show reaction today is what we need, all of us. To do that, I think it’s important that we back him and the manager and the club and the fans.
“No matter what the outside world will say about him, we always back each other and we know that we are fighting our way back to the consistency we have always been showing over the last couple of years. We’ll get there. I’m confident we’ll all get there.”
Whether Alexander-Arnold will go to the World Cup is unclear, but Van Dijk has called on him to just focus on his performances.
“He has been showing it over the last couple of years; he has developed as one of the best right-backs in the country,” he added.
“In the end, if he doesn’t make the squad, that’s on Southgate. He makes the decisions and everyone has to respect his decisions. The only thing he can do is perform.”
Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration
Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.
The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.
Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:
“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”
Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.
“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”
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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player
Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.
Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.
On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.
It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.
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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.
Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.
He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.
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