As Trent Alexander-Arnold became a national scapegoat, this week revealed that England has far bigger problems…


IN this, the week of all things British culture, I’m patriotically filled with feelings only England in 2024 can bring.

We are left perpetually deflated by The Euros and general election. The nationalist sense of self-importance around football and politics reminds me of this country’s inability to adopt any sense of grace and self-awareness when on the world stage.

We are the pageant losers. The Faragean, lobotomised men-on-horses bleating on about what we should be.

The problem is, you need actions to set expectations. When living amongst such continuous averageness and incompetence, maybe we should redo the framework of who we are and how we view ourselves.

There is, however, the sweet tonic of Glastonbury; the best indicator of what England can still deliver in terms of diversity, arts and culture.

Glastonbury offers everything Britain could be and all that remains good of it. From the synergised lay lines of Somerset’s idyllic backdrop to the myriad of breathtaking art on show, of which music is only a small part.

I’m sadly not at Worthy Farm this year. There will be plenty of Scousers who are. We find the party, after all.

On Wednesday, I watched Glastonbury’s burning of the dragon — an event which takes place on the opening night of every festival.

That same night I watched the painstaking general election leadership debate between Labour and the Conservatives where an audience of predominantly silver voters asked questions which seek blame over solution.

You see, this is a country which loves a scapegoat. It can’t survive without one. It loves to watch things burn to embers to justify its sense of entitlement. It’s why pundits and politicians will give you plenty of boogeymen but no heroes.

It’s why Trent Alexander-Arnold now finds himself in the repulsive situation of being seen as a national problem.

Of course, Connor Gallagher or Kobbie Mainoo did nothing to rectify the actual problem for England on Monday, but that’s not the point.

Once again, England believe they’ve identified the problem and latched. Good, old boys that they are. I can’t claim to have watched much football at all in recent weeks. My only thought on Trent is that he was always on a hiding to nothing.

Gareth Southgate has become the thing he always campaigned against. The once head-to-toe embodiment of M&S meritocracy showing that he does in fact do things based on reputation and favouritism.

The waistcoat has very much slipped. What we’ve seen of Southgate is that he won’t touch Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier or Kyle Walker. Therefore, Trent becomes the experiment not based on tactical nous, but on shoehorning and speculation.

When you have kept two clean sheets but only scored twice in three games, your focus might want to be on who is not delivering in front three areas as opposed to what’s behind that.

But then that’s too much common sense — something disowned across the board.

It would be common sense to put 14 years of the most abhorrent policy, corruption and sense of national embarrassment to Rishi Sunak if you’re a television broadcaster or interviewer, yet it remains conspicuously absent.

Alexander-Arnold will probably be on his holidays next week. We will hopefully be able to close another chapter of this sovereign tragicomedy.

We will probably have a new leader of the country next week — yet the enduring legacy of where politics across the world is going will linger with increasing concern.

We will once again be reminded of this country’s unforgivable ability to forgive what people like Nigel Farage have done.

This weekend, wherever I am, I’ll have Glastonbury. I’ll have the hedonism and minuscule sense of feeling attached to England’s green and pleasant land.

I’ll cherish that and hope everything it has to offer can become more representative on a wider stage.

The great British week of representation, or lack thereof. The sense of relief that Liverpool are back in action very soon.

I’d rather be in a big field listening to Little Fluffy Clouds. I’d rather be anywhere else. I’d rather Trent Alexander-Arnold was anywhere else.


Buy Dan Morgan’s book ‘Jürgen Said To Me’ on Klopp, Liverpool and the remaking of a city…

Jürgen Said to Me: Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool and the Remaking of a City

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