Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold says his family ‘sacrificed a lot’ so that he could fulfil his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
The 21-year-old won the Champions League with his boyhood club last season and has added to that haul of silverware as the Reds claimed the UEFA Supercup and the FIFA Club World Cup. However, the defender claims none of it would have been possible if not for his family.
“[My family] sacrificed a lot for me to be able to play football when I had to,” Alexander-Arnold told The Red Bulletin.
“It must have been difficult for an older brother who was missing out on football because of his younger brother, and likewise a younger brother who isn’t really allowed to enjoy the same freedom in football as us, because he has to miss certain games to come and watch me play.”
The Reds star explains that he was encouraged to take his education seriously, and opened up on the challenges of working hard both at school and on the training ground.
“It was intense juggling both [school and football],” Alexander-Arnold continued. “But for me and my family, education was just as important, if not more, because the likelihood of making it as a footballer was so slim.
“For most lads of my age, it wouldn’t work out – those were just the statistics – but I always dreamt of football and felt it was a realistic option if I worked hard enough.
“It wasn’t as if I was overly confident that I would make it; it was just I never thought I wouldn’t.”
The full-back also admitted that, in his academy days, he often let his emotions get the better of him and that he has had to mature and channel his feelings more productively as a professional.
“I used to show too much frustration, anger and disappointment,” the 21-year-old said. “I had to learn to make things right on the pitch rather than beating myself up and letting my head go down. At that age, you’re only playing two or three times a week. I wanted to play more than that.”
Alexander-Arnold has certainly got his wish and he is now one of the most recognisable players in the Premier League.
“You adapt. [The fame is] all part and parcel of what I do,” he said. “As a kid, that’s all you ever want: for people to want your autograph, to want their picture taken with you.
“I dreamt of this life, you know. But then there are times when you need to escape from that. I need to be a normal 21-year-old who goes home and plays FIFA with his mates, sits in his bedroom and just watches TV and does normal things.”