Ahead of the return of spectators to stadiums in the UK, Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has released an animated new short film. ‘Can’t Wait to See You’ will launch on Thursday December 3, 2020 ahead of the first spectators returning to football grounds since March 9. Prior to the 90-second edit, Alexander-Arnold also spoke to former England striker Ian Wright about his early memories as a football fan himself, his rise to the top and playing in front of empty stands. // Trent Alexander-Arnold is seen in Liverpool, United Kingdom on November 19, 2019 // Greg Coleman / Red Bull Content Pool
Ahead of the return of spectators to stadiums in the UK, Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has released an animated new short film. ‘Can’t Wait to See You’ launched on December 3rd, ahead of the first spectators returning to football grounds since 9th March, celebrating the lifeblood of football… the fans. Ahead of the 90-second edit, Alexander-Arnold also spoke to former England striker Ian Wright about his early memories as a football fan himself, his rise to the top and playing in front of empty stands. Here is a Q&A from their conversation:
Where did your love of football start and how old were you?I think it was my big brother [Tyler], and I remember being four or five. He had gone down to the local astro and there were little training groups going on. I remember being stood on the fence, and I used to cry every time, but they said I was too young to play.
You’ve spoken about the influence of your brothers before but just tell me a little about what it was like in your house growing up?It was mental. We played football all the time. It was non-stop. Any time of the day – apart from school – we’d play football. If it was raining, we’d go inside and do the same in the hallway with two doorways. One would use the front door, and one would use the dining room door as they were opposite to each other, and you had to score with a pair of socks or a ball, whatever.
What were your earliest memories of football on TV?I was a Wayne Rooney fan. He was obviously a local lad, but he had the hype at the time. I must have been about five or six when he broke into the first team. He was doing crazy things like that goal against Arsenal.
Who was the player you idolised most growing up?Steven Gerrard. He was everything to me. When I was growing up, I just wanted to be him, no other way about it. I wanted to live how he lived, to play how he played, to kick a ball how he did. I’d walk down the road, and I’d see an empty bottle, and I’d run up and strike it, and shout ‘Gerrard!’.
What was it like when you met Stevie for the first time?There was a Champions League game, and he was suspended. At that time, I played for Liverpool, and they gave us complimentary tickets – me, my brother and my mum went. We all went to the players’ lounge, and he walks in, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that feeling. You know when you don’t think someone’s human? You’ve built them up so much you don’t even feel like they’re a real person…you just crumble. We got a picture and stuff like that. He was amazing, and it’s a day that I’ll never ever forget.
Talk me through your first ever game as a fan…It was the quarter-finals in 2005 against Juventus – Luis Garcia scored that volley. I remember the roads just before you get to Anfield, hearing the warm-up music. There are thousands of people, and I’m obviously small at this age so I was trying to weave my way through, holding my mum’s hand. The one image I’ll never ever forget was going into the stadium and going up the stairs to find your seat, and you finally get that first glimpse of the pitch. It was at that moment I knew I had to be on that pitch one day for sure.
What was it like to make the transition from fan to professional footballer?I’m still a fan first and foremost, and maybe I enjoy things more because of that. When I’m playing, I always look up to where I used to sit and can recall exactly where I was for that first time. At Anfield, I can point it out to within 10 seats even though it’s a new stand now I can picture exactly what angle I was looking at. That may seem unbelievable but it’s true.
How did you become the player you are today? What do you think set you apart?Just playing all the time. I never intentionally practised when I was really young, but the more you play, it’s the old statement of 10,000 hours. I’ve always found the competitive side of it more beneficial so, if I want to work on long-range passing, I’ll turn it into a competition because that’s how I get the best out of myself. So, I’ll say to someone, “bet you can’t do this, let me see what you can do?”. Even now, I’ll grab a teammate after training, and I’ll be striking a ball with different techniques.
Tell me a bit more about those Anfield nights?There’s something in the stadium… spiritual. It’s just something in the atmosphere, you can feel the history. The Barca game was obviously amazing, but that City game [Champions League in 2018], I’ve never felt like that. The only negative about those nights is you can’t speak to your centre back as you can’t even hear them. You’re screaming at the top of your lungs, and they can’t hear you. You’re trying to tell them, “Your shoulder, watch your shoulder,” but they can’t hear you.
What was it like to play without fans?It’s difficult because you don’t realize how much fans influence game plans. Even though you know they’re watching at home and they’re all over the world tuning in, it’s not the same without them. I miss the route into the stadium, all the fans there, tens of thousands waiting to greet us every single game.
What was it like to win the league this year after all those years waiting?I was just sat there in the living room with my mum, I was on the couch, and she was on the other couch, and we weren’t even speaking. We were just watching TV, and it just hit me what I was about to do and how much it meant. After Chelsea beat Manchester City, it was massive, and we celebrated it and that, but it never really sinks until you get your medal and the trophy. It’s probably a bit cliché but it’s like a family. There’s been tough days over the 30 years, dark days and really emotional days. You think back to how close we’ve come to winning the league and how hard it’s been on the fans.