4 right backs, 3 slots - who should Gareth Southgate take to euro 2021?

Posted by john smith on

Gareth Southgate has a selection headache ahead of announcing his Euro 2020 (or is it 2021) squad.

Whereas much of the squad picks itself, Southgate has 4 very good right backs to pick from – all of which have made solid claims to make the squad and would feel miffed to miss out.

With Southgate being able to select 2 more players than normal (25 rather than 23), he will probably go for an extra right back.

So who should Southgate select?

Kyle Walker

Manchester City’s Kyle Walker lost his place in the squad in 2019 during the early qualifiers for Euro 2020. He fought his way back into Southgate’s side, only to be sent off in the Nations League.

“Phasing out” Walker was perhaps a poor decision consider he is still lonely 30-years-old.

Despite many challenges over the years, he is still Manchester City’s first choice right back and has had another decent season.

Walker has also proven himself to be a reliable option if Southgate goes for a back 3, as he did during England’s run to the World Cup semi-final in 2018.

This seasons form and being able to cover centre back means he will be on the plane.

Kieran Trippier

There is no debate, Kieran Trippier has been the best English right back this season.

Playing out in Spain, he has been one of the top performers for Atletico Madrid as they go for the title.

Trippier might not have the out and out electric pace of the others on the list, but he is probably England’s best all round right back.

His delivery is up their alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, and he is the best defender of the four. Not only will he be on the plane but he should also start.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

There is no doubting Trent Alexander-Arnold’s ability on the ball.

He is an asset going forward. His delivery is amongst the best of any English player – whether from open play or dead ball situations.

Alexander-Arnold is a modern full back – where is an attacking outlet whilst not particularly great defensively.

He is unfairly labelled a “liability in defence” but it is part of his game which needs improvement if he wants to become a world class right back.

Defensively, he is similar to Ashley Cole at the same age. Like Cole, he needs to now kick on.

His defending is not often exposed for Liverpool as he is part of an aggressive right side containing himself and Mo Salah – attack is the best form of defence.

Liverpool cover him by having Fabinho or Jordan Henderson drop into right back to help out as he bombs forward. Whilst this works for Liverpool, it might not work for England.

If Trippier and Walker go, that leaves Alexander-Arnold and Reece James fighting it out for the last spot.

Reece James

The battle at right back between James and Alexander-Arnold will be one for the next decade.

James is the new kid on the block, but has been a fine performer for Chelsea this season.

He is a strong presence at the back, and better defensively than Alexander-Arnold.

Trent has the better delivery, but James is also dangerous going forward.

On Saturday Chelsea played him on the right side of a back 3. It was an interesting development as it means England have a long term successor in the squad for someone who can cover both positions.

But this is the here and now.

Alexander-Arnold has proven himself over a longer period, but James has been in better form this season.

Whoever Southgate leaves out will consider himself unluck. It really is a coin toss between the pair.

So who do you think should go? Comment on our Facebook page.