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Ranking the best right-backs in the Premier League right now

No one wants to grow up and be a Gary Neville, or so we were famously told, but kids everywhere might just want to be Trent Alexander-Arnold. Or Kyle Walker. Or Reece James. Or even Kieran Trippier.

Full-back has never been more fashionable and the Premier League currently boasts a depth of brilliant right-sided defenders. From buccaneering bullet trains to inverted playmakers, there’s no division in Europe with quite as many revolutionary right-backs. But who is the best?

 

We’ve attempted to rank the best right-backs in the Premier League right now.

5. Ben White – Arsenal

Ben White has morphed into one of the most dependable right-backs in the Premier League at Arsenal, having been moved into a wider role under Mikel Arteta last season.

The results were immediate, with White’s proactive football enabling Arteta’s build up from the back. Last season, the 26-year-old ranked fifth in the Premier League for passes into the final third and sixth for progressive passes among all players, demonstrating his ability to break lines with his passing from deep.

Assured and adaptable, White is understood to have played through the pain barrier this season to aid Arsenal’s title challenge, as the Gunners deal with the absences of Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiyasu through injury.

White’s confidence in possession and excellent positioning appear tailor-made for the demands of international football, though he continues to be overlooked for England since leaving the World Cup squad last winter for unspecified reasons.

4. Pedro Porro – Tottenham

Pedro Porro is fast emerging as an integral figure in Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham team, with the full-back having grown in influence in North London. Despite initial reservations over his defensive game and ability to perform in a back four, Porro has been one of Spurs’ standout performers in the early months of Postecoglou’s reign.

The Spaniard leads all players in Europe’s top five leagues this season for blocks (37) and ranks second for tackles won (37), while he has been an important asset to the attack for Spurs this season with five assists from 17 Premier League appearances.

Across the last 12 months, Porro ranks in the top five percent of his positional peers in Europe’s top leagues for non-penalty xG, shots, assists, expected assists, shot-creating actions and blocks.

He’s thriving under Postecoglou and the Australian’s front-footed brand of football.

3. Kieran Trippier – Newcastle

Despite a noticeable recent dip in performances, Kieran Trippier remains one of the most effective – and consistent – full-backs in European football.

One of the first big-name signings of Newcastle’s new regime in January 2022, he has been vital to the improvement of the Magpies under Eddie Howe.

The right-back was named as Newcastle United Player of the Year and included in the PFA Team of the Season for his role in Newcastle’s top-four finish in 2022/23, while he has continued to provide elite ammunition for his teammates on Tyneside in the current campaign.

Trippier’s seven assists are a joint-leading total alongside Pedro Neto and Mohamed Salah, while he tops the Premier League this season for touches (1758), crosses (157), successful take-on percentage (82.4%) and key passes (52).

2. Kyle Walker – Manchester City

Kyle Walker’s continued importance to Manchester City has been recognised with the captain’s armband for large periods of the current campaign, with the right-back remaining irreplaceable to Pep Guardiola’s plans.

Even at 33, Walker’s turbo-charged game has shown few signs of slowing down, with his almost unmatched athleticism providing Manchester City with a comfort blanket when committing men forward.

Walker’s rapid recovery pace has bailed out the Citizens against counter-attacks on numerous occasions in recent seasons, with the England international remaining an almost constant in Guardiola’s side despite the manager’s tendency to tweak and experiment.

After a clean sweep of major honours, including five Premier League titles and treble success last season, in his six-and-a-half seasons at the Etihad, Walker is arguably the greatest right-back of the Premier League era.

1. Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool

Trent Alexander-Arnold continues to blur the lines between full-back and midfield, with his record-breaking rate of production from right-back having led to calls to move the 25-year-old higher up the pitch.

Jurgen Klopp has experimented by using Alexander-Arnold further forward more often this season, and the defender has responded with elite creativity. Across the last 12 months, he ranks in the 99th percentile of his positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues for shots, assists, shot-creating actions and attempted passes, and in the 98th percentile for progressive passes.

The Liverpool defender’s expansive passing range ranks among the best Premier League players of any era, with his assist against Arsenal this month taking Alexander-Arnold level with Andy Robertson for the most Premier League assists by a defender (57).

Yes, he can be beaten a little too easily on occasion, but Alexander-Arnold is capable of things others on this list – or any right-back for that matter – are not.

Read – A best XI of Premier League players heading to AFCON

See more – The Premier League players to score hat-tricks against former clubs

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