England may not be stocked with an abundance of depth in each position but one area Gareth Southgate surely has no concerns about is at right-back, English football currently blessed with a host of options on the right side of the backline.
It’s an area of remarkable strength in depth with the players ranging from forward flyers to dogged defensive stars, and such is the high number of home-grown full-back’s strutting their stuff in the Premier League at present, we’ve decided to compile our own dream XI made solely of rampaging right-backs.
Here is our Premier League XI made up entirely of English right-backs:
Goalkeeper: Kyle Walker – Manchester City
Only one contender for the goalkeeping position, Kyle Walker having memorably stepped into the role in last season’s Champions League campaign for Manchester City.
An injury to Ederson and red card for replacement Claudio Bravo saw Walker don the gloves for the closing stages of a clash with Atalanta, the England international making a couple of routine saves to maintain a personal clean sheet at the San Siro.
🎵 'Kyle Walker, he plays where he wants!' 🎵
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) November 13, 2019
There are few players who possess a 100% clean sheet record, least of all English right-backs.
Walker is in as our number one.
Right-back: George Baldock – Sheffield United
We’ve opted for George Baldock as the specialist right-back in our right-back XI, the Sheffield United star having been a vital component of the Blades’ impressive return to the top flight.
Baldock has largely operated as a wing-back in Chris Wilder’s innovative system at Bramall Lane, and will provide an attacking threat from deep for our side of flying full-backs.
Baldock scored two goals and provided a further three assists last season and can perhaps find himself unfortunate not to be deployed further up the pitch.
Centre-back: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Manchester United
The man nicknamed ‘The Spider’ has forged a reputation as one of the best one-against-one defenders in the Premier League in recent seasons, flourishing at Crystal Palace before making a big-money move to Manchester United.
Wan-Bissaka relishes duels and whilst he has made improvements going forward, his strengths are undoubtedly in the defensive side of his game and that earns his position as our first centre-back.
A full-back in the modern game better without the ball than in possession, who would have thought it?
Centre-back: Luke Ayling – Leeds
Being the tallest right-back in this side is enough justification for Ayling’s shift inside to centre-back, the Leeds man having evolved into a leader for Marcelo Bielsa’s side as they’ve made a long-awaited return to the Premier League this season.
Ayling played much of his youth career centrally before making a name for himself at right-back, bouncing back from being released by Arsenal to rebuild his career in the lower leagues.
Also arguably the pioneer of Leeds’ notorious top-knot brigade upon their return to the top flight, which we presume is an indication of his dressing room influence.
Left-back: James Justin – Leicester
James Justin has begun the new season at left-back for Leicester so that was enough to make him a shoo-in for our side on the opposite flank, the youngster growing in stature after jumping two divisions into the top flight last summer.
Such is his competency on the left-flank, Justin was named in the League One Team of the Year whilst playing at left-back for Luton Town, the athletic star’s performances attracting the attention of Brendan Rodgers and Leicester.
After patiently biding his time he has now been given an opportunity following an injury to Ricardo Pereira and the departure of Ben Chilwell to Chelsea, Justin stating his case to be a first-team regular at the King Power Stadium.
Midfield: Reece James – Chelsea
Jamie Carragher once claimed that full-backs are failed wingers or centre-backs, but our midfield trio undoubtedly have the talent to feel right at home in the centre of the park.
The first player we’ve opted for is exciting Chelsea youngster Reece James, who made a huge impact during a season-long loan spell at Wigan before establishing himself in Frank Lampard’s thinking at Stamford Bridge.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 14, 2020
James possesses excellent technique and is a superb crosser of the ball, whilst his blend of speed and strength is enough to overpower opponents.
He spent much of that loan spell at Wigan in midfield and was named as the club’s Player of the Season, James amongst the most well-rounded right-backs in our XI.
Midfield: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
The star turn of the side and a player who many feel may end up in midfield as his career progresses, Trent Alexander-Arnold has redefined the right-back position amongst English contenders over the past few seasons.
The 21-year-old emerged from Liverpool‘s academy system to star as the home-grown hero in Jurgen Klopp’s side, becoming the Reds’ chief source of creativity from a previously unfashionable position at full-back.
Alexander-Arnold broke the single season assist record for a defender during the 2018/19 campaign before eclipsing his own landmark last time out, his delivery and passing range ranking amongst the finest in the Premier League.
Midfield: Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Arsenal
Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be cursing his place in this right-back team with the youngster having long insisted his preferred position is in midfield, so it’s only right we give the Arsenal star his opportunity alongside James and Alexander-Arnold in an impressive looking trio.
In truth, Maitland-Niles could have slotted in seamlessly in almost any position on this team sheet, the newly-capped England international seemingly following in the valiant and versatile footsteps of players such as John O’Shea and James Milner – two players regarded amongst the Premier League’s greatest utility men.
Right-wing: Matty Cash – Aston Villa
Possessing endless energy and a fine work-rate, Cash is fairly new to the right-back role having been shifted into defence from a position further forward, starring for Nottingham Forest to earn a summer switch to the Premier League and Aston Villa.
His conversion from winger into full-back has seen Cash predictably thrive in an attacking sense, scoring three goals and providing five assists in the Championship last season.
Left-wing: Tariq Lamptey – Brighton
Arguably the rising right-back star in the Premier League at present, Tariq Lamptey is reaping the rewards of leaving Chelsea in search of regular first-team opportunities at Brighton.
Having seen his path to the first-team blocked by both Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James at Stamford Bridge, Lamptey signed for the Seagulls for just £4m in the January transfer window and has swiftly made his mark on the South Coast.
The 19-year-old has been excellent in the club’s first two games of the season with an insatiable work-rate and lightning pace, Lamptey clocking a top speed of 36.6km/h against Newcastle last weekend, the fastest recorded in the Premier League so far this season.
It’s that pace and forward thrust that has led us to deploy Lamptey on the left-hand side of our attack, the speedster offering a useful outlet for our right-back XI.
Forward: Ryan Fredericks – West Ham
Ok, so placing a right-back with just two goals in 186 league appearances as our main attacking threat may seem illogical, but hear us out.
Fredericks is fast. Very fast.
We may have to go direct on occasion, but we’re backing our chances of getting the speedster in on goal with the passing ranges of James and Alexander-Arnold in midfield.
A district champion at the 100m in his youth, the full-back has regularly flown forward in his professional career to date and if there’s one thing defenders really fear most, it’s speed.
Just ask any of this XI for confirmation.