WHAT LEFT-BACK PROBLEM? ENGLAND ARE SPOILT FOR CHOICE
Before the season a lot was said about how England had a problem at left-back, especially after Gareth Southgate opted to play right footed Kieran Trippier in the position.
Ben Chilwell seemed like the natural choice, but with his injury record and poor form this season, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the England manager had a crisis to solve on the left-hand side.
However, since the start of the season several players who before were not remotely in consideration for a call up have stepped up, leaving Southgate with a dilemma, but a good one at that.
So, who are the candidates for the position in the England squad for Euro 2021?
Okay so Justin would have been a prime contender if it wasn’t for his recent ACL injury, but I felt like he deserved a mention after how vastly he has improved from last season.
The 22-year-old has gone from being a squad player to one of Leicester’s main men, helping the team to 9 clean sheets so far this season. He has completed 103 ball recoveries and has a 61% tackle success rate in the league, making him one of the best in his position.
The fact that he will be unlikely to get into the squad because of his recent injury truly is a shame.
West Ham are having a great season, currently sitting in 5th place, with one of the main reasons for their fantastic form being the leadership and ability of Aaron Cresswell.
The 31-year-old has 6 assists and has helped the team to 9 clean sheets in 24 matches, he is in the form of his life.
With 141 ball recoveries and 7 big chances created, Cresswell is equally adept at attacking and defending, and has elevated his level of play enough to put himself in contention for an England call up.
The one stat going against him is that he only has a 33% tackle success rate, a far worse record than the others on this list, which may be the factor which stops him breaking into the squad, but he is still a good option.
Okay so Saka would not be a starting left-back for England given that it is not his preferred position, but his general versatility as well as his proficiency in the position means that he is a prime candidate to be a backup in the squad.
At only 19-years-old he already has 4 caps for his country, down to both his ability and maturity at such a young age.
In the league this season he has grabbed 5 goals and 2 assists, all whilst being very disciplined and completing his defensive duties, whatever position he is in.
Whilst he will definitely not be the first on Southgate’s list, don’t be surprised to see him filling in the roll at some point during the Euros.
After being dismissed by many football fans and losing his place in the England squad, Luke Shaw has been quietly reviving his form, and should, without a shadow of a doubt, be the Three Lions first choice at the Euros.
The 25-year-old has been terrific for United this season, helping them to 5 cleans sheets, all whilst grabbing 5 assists.
He has also created 7 big chances, has a 62% tackle success rate and has made 114 ball recoveries, making him by far England’s best option.
With nearly 200 Premier League appearances and 8 caps, Shaw would also bring experience to what is sure to be a young squad. If he does not get an England recall, Southgate will be making a big mistake.