ENGLAND RIGHT-BACK DILEMMA: WHO WILL SOUTHGATE PICK IN HIS 26 MAN ENGLAND SQUAD?
England’s Euro 2021 squad will be the hot topic of discussion for many England fans across the country for the next few weeks.
Many people will have their own opinions on who and why they want certain players to represent the Three Lions this summer.
Some positions are pretty easy to pick, but others will cause some debate amongst groups of people.
This time, it is the right-back slot that many England fans are left wondering who will go and who will be left behind for the next tournament.
Let’s look at Gareth Southgate’s five best options from this unexpected golden generation of right-backs…
The most experienced on the list, many thought that Kyle Walker’s England days were over, after a red card against Iceland, which even had the Manchester City defender worried over his future with the Three Lions. However, it is undeniable that Walker has recovered from the incident and played a role in the Citizens cruise to the Premier League title. He has had a strong 2021 so far, and his experience with England at major tournaments may see him get the nod for the England squad. His versatility could play a big part as well, with the former Spurs man playing in that right centre-back role in England’s back three during the 2018 World Cup.
While many outlets report that Trent Alexander-Arnold won’t be making the squad, you cannot help but think that would be a strange decision from Southgate. It has certainly not been the best season for the Liverpool full back, but ever since he was dropped from the England setup, the youngster has shown his resilience and ability, putting in great performances against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, and playing a big part in Liverpool’s resurgence into the top four. If England do go five at the back, Alexander-Arnold is more than capable in a wing-back role, and his creativity in a traditional four at the back is clear to see. However, his defensive weaknesses may have cost him a place in Southgate’s squad in a position where there is so much talent, there is no room for error.
After a fantastic loan spell at Wigan Athletic, Reece James has gone on to establish himself as the first choice right-back at Stamford Bridge, with six caps in the bag for England as well. James is a steady, consistent player, both strong in attack and defence, and his work rate has made him a mainstay in both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel’s teams. His sending off against Denmark after the final whistle could show some inexperience and a lack of maturity, but he has generally impressed any time he has played this season. It is likely that James will be a regular in the England squad in the future, and with a small amount of experience for England already, that journey may start now.
Kieran Trippier is a name that will always bring a great England memory back to fans, as he opened the scoring with a beautiful free kick in the World Cup semi-final. This however isn’t the reason why he is in contention for a place at the Euros though, as he has been quietly impressing many people while at Atletico Madrid, as he looks set to lift the La Liga title come the end of the season. Another steady right-back, Trippier has improved his defending massively under the tutelage of defensive maestro Diego Simeone and with an already strong attacking game, the former Spurs man has put himself straight back into contention for a Euros call-up. With his ability to fill in at left back as well, Trippier seems to be someone rated highly by Gareth Southgate, and with a strong season in Spain under his belt, we may see another memorable free-kick goal in this tournament.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been incredibly hard done by. A player of his ability would more than likely be called up to most international squads but due to this unforeseen golden generation of right-backs, the Manchester United man finds himself with no senior caps. Undoubtedly the best one on one defender out of the five, it is his attacking game that has let him down in comparison to his competition. His attacking play is improving and he has looked more comfortable going forward, but it may not be enough to see him on the plane. However, if Southgate is looking for a defensive full-back to help England close out a game, or defeat a stronger side, Wan-Bissaka could be the man for the job.