Thursday, May 19

England right-back options – ranked

England’s incredible depth at right-back is no secret, evidenced by Gareth Southgate’s decision to select four right-backs in his initial squad for Euro 2020.

Incredibly, even with Southgate pushing the boat out for his favourite position, several players could still count themselves unlucky to have not made the 26-man selection.

The 2021/22 season has seen even more right-backs burst onto the scene too. So many in fact that we even managed to create a pretty strong starting XI using only players who operate on the right side of defence.

Here is how those 11 – plus a few extra – are ranked in the battle for a place in the Three Lions team.

Kyle Walker-PetersKyle Walker-Peters

Walker-Peters has proved a smart signing for Saints / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Thanks to the emergence of Tino Livramento – more on him later – Kyle Walker-Peters has been forced out on the left-hand side in recent times for Southampton.

However, he made his name as a right-back, and despite some hard-to-ignore defensive shortcomings, his explosiveness make him one to keep half an eye on.

Luke AylingLuke Ayling

Ayling has barely missed a game since Leeds returned to the top flight / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Luke Ayling is a right-back in name only in Marcelo Bielsa’s system. Thanks to the man marking and high pressing El Loco encourages, Ayling pops up all around the pitch during a game.

He is not quite England standard, but having a player of his versatility can be helpful – particularly at a tournament.

Max Aarons, Jack HarrisonMax Aarons, Jack Harrison

Aarons is a real talent / Stephen Pond/GettyImages

Once a target for Barcelona – remember that?! – Max Aarons is clearly talented, despite Norwich City looking like one of the worst teams in Premier League history so far this season.

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He needs a move away where he can really prove his worth.

Displacing the ever-present Vladimir Coufal in the West Ham side was mightily impressive from Ben Johnson.

He’s also a terrific dancer.

Tariq LampteyTariq Lamptey

Lamptey still has plenty of time to develop / Steve Bardens/GettyImages

Tariq Lamptey gambled on himself by moving away from boyhood club Chelsea at the age of 18, but it paid off because the youngster has thrived since joining Brighton.

Now back from a long-term injury, he needs an eye-catching season to remind people just how good he can be.

James JustinJames Justin

Justin was able to enjoy the FA Cup final, albeit from the stands / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

James Justin is versatile enough to play at right-back and left-back, and got his chance in the Premier League towards the end of the 2019/20 season, starting every game of ‘Project Restart’.

He really pushed on after that, filling the void left by Ben Chilwell’s departure to Chelsea seamlessly.

Just as he was about to force his way into Southgate’s plans though, he suffered a heartbreaking ACL injury. He is set to return to the fray soon which is good news for both England and Leicester.

Aaron Wan-BissakaAaron Wan-Bissaka

Wan-Bissaka has had some tough days in recent times / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is considered by many to be the best one-on-one defender in the Premier League, his long legs somehow capable of hooking the ball away from almost anybody.

Despite this, in more recent times, his inability to improve his offensive game and his poor positioning have become increasingly difficult to ignore. A maiden England cap seems further away than ever.

Tino Livramento has been one of the breakout stars of the 2021/22 Premier League season.

Zooming up and down the right side for Southampton, he has made that starting XI berth his own since arriving on the south coast. Still only 18, it may be some time before he gets a senior call-up but one thing’s for sure, it’s definitely happening.

Kieran John TrippierKieran John Trippier

Trippier has thrived in Spain / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Kieran Trippier has some of the best ball delivery and set-piece ability of any active English player.

His transfer to Atletico Madrid was a surprising one – well, not for some of his mates actually – but it takes a strong character with drive to be a regular starter in a Diego Simeone team and he has managed that.

His form his dipped somewhat recently, but he is still super-reliable.

Kyle WalkerKyle Walker

Southgate is a big fan of Walker / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Despite a brief absence from the England squad a while back and even though he is the only player on this list the wrong side of 30, it remains impossible to look beyond Kyle Walker as a leading right-back.

Walker has been a key player for one of the best club sides that English football has ever seen over the last three years and has the versatility to play as an auxiliary centre-back in a back three if needed too.

Trent Alexander-ArnoldTrent Alexander-Arnold

Trent is a terrific set-piece taker / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Although not first choice for Gareth Southgate right now, there’s no denying that Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best right-back England have at their disposal.

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Defensively, Alexander-Arnold still has plenty to learn and room to improve, but he puts up incredible attacking numbers. He could be sensational for England as a wing-back flanking a back three.

Reece JamesReece James

James is Southgate’s best choice – just / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

Reece James has become a favourite of Southgate’s recently – and for good reason.

The Chelsea full-back has taken his game to the next level this season, registering four goals and four assists by the start of November. He is a fearsome defender too, putting him just above Alexander-Arnold for now.


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