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Alexander-Arnold backing VAR despite World Cup controversies

By June 21, 2018No Comments

England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold insists VAR gives referees the best chance of making correct decisions despite some early controversies during the World Cup.

A number of decisions have been referred during the opening round of group games in Russia, with England aggrieved that they were twice denied a penalty in their 2-1 win against Tunisia when Harry Kane was wrestled to the ground at a set-piece – even though the video assistants did look over one of the incidents.

However, Liverpool full-back Alexander-Arnold is still backing the system and says England have the mental strength to cope when decisions go against them.

“Obviously there’s more chance of getting the correct decisions in games (with VAR),” he said.

“We’ve seen officials still haven’t got every decision that we’ve seen right but they are trying their best and with VAR you’ve got the best chance of doing that.

“Obviously you want those decisions to go your way. But we’ve spoken about refereeing decisions not going our way and it’s part of the game that not every decision will go your way.

“We just have to get on with the game and try to ignore the fact we didn’t get the two claims we went for. The result and the manner we won it showed the lads can put it past them and focus on getting the win and that’s what we’ve done.”

Alexander-Arnold backing VAR despite World Cup controversies PLZ Soccer
Harry Kane was England’s hero in Volgograd (Adam Davy/PA)

Kane scored both England’s goals in their opening victory, and Alexander-Arnold paid tribute to his international captain.

“He’s an elite striker,” he added. “He’s clinical in front of goal. He’s proved that over the last couple of seasons in the Premier League and now he’s proved that in a World Cup.

“His first game he scored two important goals for the team and it got us the win. For him personally he prefers to get the team results rather than individual accolade – that’s why he’s captain of the team.”

Optimism surrounding England’s first opening win at a major tournament since 2006 has been heightened by lacklustre performances from some of the pre-tournament favourites.

Holders Germany lost their opener against Mexico, while Argentina and Brazil also failed to win in the first round of matches.

However, Alexander-Arnold is not getting carried away.

“It’s early days and most teams have only played one game – its hard to compare,” he said. “Teams can have off days and teams can have good days.

“We’re just trying to focus on ourselves. You cant look at teams that aren’t in your group at this moment in time – you’re not playing them right now, you’re playing the teams in your group.

Alexander-Arnold backing VAR despite World Cup controversies PLZ Soccer
Gareth Southgate joked with the squad about giving himself an injury headache (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“We’re playing Panama and Belgium and they’re the two teams we’re focussed on the most.”

England manager Gareth Southgate suffered a dislocated shoulder while out running on Wednesday, but was still able to hold a scheduled team meeting in the evening.

“He joked about it and put it in the funniest way possible,” Alexander-Arnold said. “He said he hopes no one else has an afternoon like he did with the injury he got. He tried to put a smile on everyone’s faces.”