Is Gareth Southgate spoilt for choice at right-back?
When Gareth Southgate named his England squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro, one of the most surprising absences was Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Wan-Bissaka has made the right-back spot his own at Selhurst Park this season. He’s won 109 tackles in league action this season, the joint-most of any player in Europe.
Think of all the tricky wingers he’s come up against too – Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane, Leroy Sane and the rest. And yet the 21-year-old has only been dribbled past seven times. It’s almost unheard of for a young full-back to be so solid.
But there’s still no room for him in the Three Lions senior squad. Southgate already has Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier at his disposal. But which of that trio should be the first-choice on the right side of defence? We’ve weighed up their pros and cons…
Pros: There are very few wingers who can beat Walker for pace or power. The Manchester City defender is also used to playing for a side that wants to control possession, which is how Southgate wants his side to perform. He can operate as the right-sided centre-back in a back three too.
Cons: The 28-year-old is still prone to the occasional lapse of concentration at the back. He’s only chipped in with a single assist for City so far this season too. You’d expect more from an attacking full-back in that side.
Pros: Along with Wan-Bissaka, Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold may well be the future. He’s got great delivery from crosses and set pieces. The local lad has looked comfortable whenever he’s been asked to step up a level too.
Cons: Is he a natural defender? He was brought up as a midfielder and has hinted he’d be keen to return there in the future.
Pros: Trippier’s displays at wing-back were vital to England’s run to the World Cup semi-final. His consistent delivery was a major weapon in Russia, helping Southgate’s side to score nine goals from set pieces.
Cons: Take away Trippier’s delivery and he’s arguably the weakest of the right-backs in the squad. He’s had an inconsistent season for Tottenham Hotspur, where he’s often looked awkward as part of a back four.
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