Trent Alexander-Arnold has his eyes fixed on the future after his Euros heartbreak with England… the Liverpool ace is the star of a new Red Bull documentary that captures him on a pioneering vision training regime
- Trent Alexander-Arnold has focused on his vision in a new Red Bull documentary
- The Liverpool defender has completely re-defined how to play the full-back role
- He spent time doing visual exercises with Dr Daniel Laby, an ophthalmologist
- The 22-year-old will miss this summer’s Euros after suffering a thigh injury
- Alexander-Arnold says marginal gains are key to staying at the top of your game
- He’s hopeful Liverpool can use their struggles to their advantage next season
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.
Trent Alexander-Arnold now has no choice but to look to the future after his heartbreak of missing this summer’s European Championships with a thigh injury.
After being excluded by Gareth Southgate in March, the Liverpool ace responded with a superb run of form towards the end of the season that saw him win a place in the England’s final 26-man squad.
But disaster struck on Wednesday night when he was forced to hobble around the side of the pitch at the Riverside Stadium after suffering an agonising thigh injury in a warm-up game against Austria.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has been working with Red Bull to take his game to the next level
Alexander-Arnold spent time doing visual-based exercises with ophthalmologist Daniel Laby
Alexander-Arnold is Liverpool’s creative hub and has perfected crossing, delivery and passing
It was a bitter blow at the end of what has been a largely frustrating season for the 22-year-old. Setbacks come with the territory in football but Alexander-Arnold has proven already in his young career that he has the tools to come back stronger.
Nearly five years since making his competitive debut for Liverpool, he is one of the best in the world in his position and has completely re-defined what is expected of a full back.
On his team’s journey to becoming European and Premier League champions under Jurgen Klopp, the local lad has been Liverpool’s chief playmaker and his wicked delivery and raking passes still draw gasps from the Kop.
It may come as a surprise then that Alexander-Arnold is the star of a new Red Bull documentary titled ‘Trent’s Vision’, that captures him on a journey to improve how he sees things unfolding on the pitch.
Alexander-Arnold spent time this year carrying out a series of visual-based exercises with Dr Daniel Laby, an ophthalmologist and the director of sports and performance vision at SportsVisionNY who has gathered a database of several thousand professional and Olympic-level athletes over three decades of work.
Speaking to Sportsmail about his new project, Alexander-Arnold said: ‘I was really interested when I started to talk to Red Bull about the project as my vision isn’t an aspect I’ve worked on before.
‘I don’t think anyone in football has fully, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
‘There’s always room for improvement in every area. Just because you’re good at something it doesn’t mean you can’t be better.
‘This opportunity has given me the chance to look into something that hasn’t really been explored in the game it was a no-brainer to take them up on it.’
Dr Laby assessed his depth perception, basic visual function and hand-eye co-ordination
Following initial testing, the defender then completed a six-week training programme
Alexander-Arnold began testing earlier this year, with Dr Laby assessing areas such as depth perception, basic visual function, hand-eye co-ordination, reaction time and target tracking.
Following initial testing, he then completed a six-week training programme devised by Dr Laby which included AVTS Vision Tests, work with a neurotrainer and even juggling.
The improvements in his eyesight have been tangible – noticeably Alexander-Arnold now has sharper vision (up by 44 per cent), has increased his visual concentration and multiple-object tracking ability (up by 241 per cent), and has quicker reaction and processing time (36 per cent increase).
It was also found that as a direct result of the training, Alexander-Arnold’s vision is now as good as humanly possible – 20:10 vision.
He added: ‘I’m sure everything has had a positive impact on my game but the biggest thing I would say is the multiple target tracking.
Alexander-Arnold’s chances of playing at this summer’s Euros for England are now in tatters
The defender limped off in England’s win over Austria on Wednesday with a thigh problem
‘It makes the most sense, focusing on one point and being able to see things that are going on around you and kind of spotting the red dots, which will be my team-mates on the pitch.
‘It was definitely different. It was difficult at times and there were some areas I struggled with but it was about pushing through the tough parts but I enjoyed it.
‘Some of it was puzzle-based and game-related so it was enjoyable but hard at the same time.’
While working on your vision may seem like a niche method to improving your game, Liverpool are constantly looking to make the most out of any advantage.
Klopp and his sports science team at the club’s new £50million training facility in Kirkby have always looked towards marginal gains to get ahead of their rivals.
Whether it be employing a throw-in coach, the arrivals of fitness and nutritional specialists Andreas Kornmayer and Mona Nemmer or sports psychologists, Klopp is open to anything that will help his players.
After the training Alexander-Arnold’s vision is now as good as humanly possible – 20:10 vision
Alexander-Arnold’s work included AVTS Vision Tests, neurotrainer sessions and even juggling
When asked if Klopp was aware of Alexander-Arnold’s vision training, the youngster said: ‘I don’t think he knows, no. But who doesn’t want to improve aspects of their game?
‘When you’re playing at an elite level in the Premier League and Champions League, everyone is at a really similar level. You’re all kind of world-class players and in that elite bracket.
‘Not much separates people so it’s about finding little marginal gains that can separate you from the rest which can give you an extra one per cent that makes a world of difference.
‘When everyone is around the same level, whoever finds the next best thing will improve the most. I think there’s definitely been pioneers in different aspects of football.
‘If you look at (Cristiano) Ronaldo whose worked on his athleticism and the game has changed over the last 10 or 15 years because of that. It’s a more physical game now and you have to be more of an athlete.
‘He was one of those who really started that years back. I think really being potentially the first player who has looked into the vision side of the game and improving on that, it could be starting a new wave of improvement and development in players.’
Liverpool are huge believers of marginal gains and are always looking for tiny advantages
The defender increased visual concentration and multiple-object tracking by 241 per cent
Alexander-Arnold and Jurgen Klopp embrace after securing a Champions League position
It has certainly paid off on the pitch. Alexander-Arnold was spectacular as Liverpool won eight of their final 10 league games to clinch an unlikely Champions League spot next season.
In between games in which he registered assists against Arsenal and Liverpool, Alexander-Arnold showed his expert vision to fire a late winner through a crowd of Aston Villa defenders in front of the Kop.
He then provided assists from set pieces for Roberto Firmino’s header against Manchester United at Old Trafford and Alisson’s memorable winner at West Brom.
Alexander-Arnold’s form helped him regain his place in the England squad for this summer’s Euros after being left out in March, however he will now be watching the tournament from home.
But, like most of his Liverpool colleagues, he looked bereft of confidence throughout what was a tough winter for Klopp’s team.
Major defensive injuries in October and November almost instantly ended Liverpool’s defence of the Premier League title they had waited 30 years to win. They were top at Christmas but six successive home defeats let Manchester City in.
Alexander-Arnold missed just two league games all season and, with Andy Robertson on the left, was a pillar of stability in a back four that didn’t have a settled core.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Ozan Kabak, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams all played centre back at some point in the season. It was far from ideal.
He supplied the inch-perfect cross for goalkeeper Alisson to head home against West Brom
Alexander-Arnold was superb for Liverpool in their winning streak at the end of the season
‘It’s been different to what we’ve experienced in the last two or three years. We’ve had a stable, set back four with some adjustments here or there but for the best part it’s been a stable four,’ Alexander-Arnold said.
‘It’s been different over the course of the season but growing up you know the game of football is never going to be kind and you know it’s not always going to be the same so you get used to changes and playing with different people.
‘It’s probably happened a bit more than we’d have liked this season but there’s no excuses.
‘We’ve had to get on with it and over the last few weeks and months we’ve been able to get a rhythm as a defensive unit and team and been able to keep some clean sheets and get results on the board.
‘When you’re halfway through a season and you are top of the league then it shows you’ve got drive and doing things right.
‘It was just a bad run of results, poor performances and not being able to take our chances that punished us. In the Premier League you get punished for that and we have been this season.
‘I’m sure we’ll learn from what’s happened and use it to our advantage next season.’
Alexander-Arnold impressed on the final day of the season as Liverpool clinched third place
Alexander-Arnold registered just one goal and one assist in the Premier League between that horrible run starting with a 1-1 home draw with West Brom on December 27 and the win at Wolves on March 15.
There were suggestions Klopp tweaked his tactics and reined in his flying full backs with so much uncertainty in the middle of defence. Alexander-Arnold was superb in the final third at the end of the season but knows his priority is his work off the ball.
He added: ‘It’s not something I actively think about. I know I’m a defender first and foremost and the clean sheet is the foundation of the result and that’s what comes first.
‘It’s always a priority to defend first and make sure we get a clean sheet.
‘To push on from that is to get forward and try to create things and get involved in the goals and make things happen for the team.
‘Potentially our plan going into games has changed a bit and we’ve become a bit more defensively-minded but for me it’s just about trying to play as naturally as possible and just trying to do the right things and right decisions when needed.’
To watch ‘Trent’s Vision’ in full head to Red Bull TV: www.redbull.co.uk/trentsvision
ALEXANDER-ARNOLD ON WHAT MAKES THE PERFECT PASS, HIS DREAM 5-A-SIDE TEAM AND WHO IS THE BEST PLAYER TO PASS TO?
What do you think makes the perfect pass and what’s your favourite assist to date?
‘For me, it would be vision, execution, timing, weight of pass, distance, strength, technique. [I’d say] at home against Bournemouth, 17/18 season.’
Who are your favourite passers in the game?
‘I look up to Messi and De Bruyne in terms of passing in football.’
Is there anyone in the Liverpool or England squad who you most admire for their overall vision?
‘I admire Thiago’s vision. In the England team, a great passer would be Phil Foden. Harry Kane is a very good passer of the ball.’
Who is the best player to pass to in Liverpool and England?
‘The best player to pass to is Bobby Firmino. He’s got a touch like an angel so doesn’t matter how you give it to him! Again, I’d probably say Phil Foden is the best at England to pass to. Amazing, delicate touch.’
Could you pick your dream five-a-side team based solely on vision?
‘Ah that’s tough… well me especially after this project!! And then I’d say Gerrard, Alonso, Messi, De Bruyne. Actually, it’s between De Bruyne or Beckham! I need a six-man team!’
You’ve mentioned before that Steven Gerrard was an idol. Can you pick out what made him so good?
‘I think what made Steven Gerrard so good was decisiveness, if that makes sense. He never did anything just for the sake of it. He did it with a purpose and did it with intensity. So, I would say decisiveness.’
Are there any sports people outside of football that you admire?
‘Top three would be Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan and Tom Brady.’
Do you think VAR has meant that everyone has to be a better passer?
‘Yeah, I would say since VAR there’s definitely been a need to make the pass a little bit more perfect in terms of weight and timing. It’s more timing than anything – it puts an emphasis on timing.’
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