Trent Alexander-Arnold promised to make the most of the opportunity ahead of him after signing a new long-term contract with Liverpool on Friday.
The level-headed 18-year-old committed his future to his boyhood club following a breakthrough season in 2016-17 that included a senior debut and 12 appearances in total for the Reds.
But with the wisdom of Jürgen Klopp, Steven Gerrard and his mum firmly planted in his mind, there is little chance of Alexander-Arnold allowing recent progress to become a distraction.
Instead, the young man will return to the training ground to continue pre-season work this weekend knowing what is needed to maintain his promising course at Liverpool.
Watch a special interview with Alexander-Arnold on his second new deal within a year on LFCTV GO below or read on for a full transcript of the chat…
Congratulations on another new contract – how does it feel?
Thank you. It’s exciting, a proud moment for me and my family. I’m excited for the good times ahead, hopefully.
What goes through your mind when you sign a contract so soon after the last one?
Knowing that the manager has got faith in you and having that belief behind you means a lot. Obviously it makes me feel like I am part of his plans going forward. It makes me feel good. It signals a chance and faith from the manager once again. Over the last 12 months he has shown in many different ways the faith that he has in young players and in me personally. I’m happy to have his faith and hopefully I can repay him by doing well when I get the chance.
How satisfied were you with the last 12 months?
I was more than satisfied – overwhelmed and overjoyed. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved. But I’ve said before, the hard work definitely doesn’t stop now. It’s only just beginning. Hopefully I’ll have many more moments like last season in this season and the seasons to come.
What was the highlight for you?
I’d probably say Old Trafford. The whole occasion – the manager having the trust, my family being so proud, the importance of the game as well, and everything about the game was excellent.
Was there a moment where you began to feel comfortable around the first team?
No, just over time you get more naturally involved with the team, you gel more and you become yourself more around them. You start to have banter and express yourself more. And that helps because if you can express yourself off the pitch, then you can do it on the pitch. You won’t be afraid to ask for the ball or maybe ignore passing to someone because you want to try to do something. You just get a little bit more confidence on the pitch.
You caught up with somebody that Liverpool fans know very well over the summer for advice…
I had a chat with Steven Gerrard. His advice was really helpful because he is an idol of mine and to have advice from him means a lot. I obviously want to try to emulate his career path as much as I can. It just meant a lot to know that he’s there to give me advice when I need it. I always thank him for the advice that he gives me.
Whose idea was it?
It was his idea. Alex Inglethorpe thought it would be a good idea as well. I know they were talking about meeting up with me and discussing things. It was a good idea and I came away from it with a lot of good advice.
Was there something in particular he said that resonated with you?
Being ready to fight for your position, because there is going to be lads from the Academy who are going to come up and try to take mine. You’ve got to fight for your position day in, day out – that’s what he told me and that definitely stuck.
One thing the Academy coaches always mention is how big an influence your mum has been for you. How important has she been for you?
Massively. She’s always there for me no matter what, always there to give me advice. Maybe sometimes when I was getting a bit loud and confident, she’d always put me back in my place. That has helped me going forward. Maybe at the time I wouldn’t have been happy about it but now that I look back, it definitely helped me to be humble and always strive for more. It obviously wasn’t just my mum – it was my whole family and friends. The people you are around day in, day out are important, they help you become what you want to be. All my family were always there for me.
The manager will speak to you a lot, of course. What’s the one bit of advice that sticks in your mind most?
He always knows what to tell me at the right times and what to work on. There’s always stuff you need to improve on. There’s not one standout thing. I know personally, and he has told me, that I still need to improve in every aspect of my game. It’s normal, I’m only 18 and I know I’m not at the highest level I can achieve and I’ve still got a lot of potential. Hopefully, as a team and as an individual, I’ll fulfil that potential.
Is that the biggest change in mindset when you move from the Academy to the first team? You’ve got to aspire to be the best…
Definitely. You can’t just be happy with having a good session here and there or having a week’s worth of good sessions. You’ve always got to try to be the best player in every session that you can. You’ve got to fight for your place, there’s always someone trying to take your spot. It’s just natural, it’s football and there’s always going to be competition. That’s what’s good with new signings and new players coming in – you’ve always got to fight for your position because you don’t know whether you’re going to have it in the next few weeks. It’s difficult but every day you’ve got to try to work hard.
You’ve said it before – this is where the hard work really begins for you…
You can never be satisfied with where you are. There is always room for improvement. It’s not a good thing if you ever are satisfied in football, you’ve always got to strive for better. Maybe you can dwell on achievements for a little bit but you can’t dwell on them for weeks or months. You’ve got to get back to the hard work. That’s what I’ll do straight away – I’ll get back into training, I’ll work hard and I’ll try to fight for a place in the team.
What does the club mean to you?
It means everything. It seems like it’s a family to me now. It has been there for as long as I can remember so it feels like I’m part of a family with Liverpool – the fans, the team, the coach and the staff. Everything feels like it’s a family, that’s the best way I can put it.
Is there any added pressure for you to do well because of where you’re from?
No. I feel happy to be playing for my local team and fulfilling the dreams of basically every kid in the city. It means a lot, knowing there are a lot of people who want to be in my position. I can’t take it for granted, the position and opportunity I’ve been given. Every day I’m trying to maximise the opportunity and do well. Hopefully that’s what I’ll do this season.