It’s not like the English media to get carried away after one bright performance by an English youngster.
But Trent Alexander-Arnold’s shackling of Leroy Sane essentially means England 1-0 Germany before a ball is even kicked at the 2018 World Cup.
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The fact that TA-A is struggling to make England’s World Cup squad despite starring for a side who, barring a Mancstanbul meltdown, will be competing in the Champions League semi-final got us thinking.
Do England have the best pool of right-backs in world football?
Now the laughing has died down, allow us to look at the facts and figures.
England’s fertile crop
Alexander-Arnold’s display against City overshadowed a poor performance from Kyle Walker.
But, while Liverpool’s latest homegrown idol has yet to make a senior appearance for England, Walker has 34 caps filling up his closet.
Throw 14-cap Nathaniel Clyne and Kieran Trippier, who’s the biggest benefactor from Walker’s transition into a third centre-back, into the mix and Gareth Southgate is spoiled for choice.
Then there’s the young guns.
Joe Gomez has impressed in spells at right-back, although he’ll probably end up playing in the middle of defence, while in the blue half of Merseyside Jonjoe Kenny is beginning to emerge.
Kyle Walker-Peters has broken into Spurs’ first-team squad under notorious curator of young talent Mauricio Pochettino and Axel Tuanzebe is clearly highly-rated by supposed hater of youth Jose Mourinho at Man United.
Dig deeper around London and you’ll also find Chelsea’s Reece James and Fulham’s Steven Sessegnon. We’re being greedy, really.
The main challenger
England’s claim to be the kings of all things right-back comes under heavy fire from the Spaniards.
Dani Carvajal, Cesar Azpilicueta and future Real Madrid/Barcelona right-back Alvaro Odriozola are all fighting for the first-team spot, leaving Juanfran and Hector Bellerin out in the cold.
Man City’s Pablo Maffeo, who put up an impressive display against a certain Lionel Messi earlier in the season while on loan at Girona, is forging a strong reputation with the Under-21s.
So while we want to be patriotic, we’d have to give this one to Spain.
France can call upon Monaco powerhouse Djibril Sidibe at right-back but lack depth behind the 25-year-old.
Stuttgart’s Benjamin Pavard is currently his understudy, with Nice’s Christophe Jallet third in the rankings.
The fact that Saint-Etienne’s born again Mathieu Debuchy may well make the plane to Russia is a decent indicator of where France currently are in terms of right-backs.
Germany also lack depth behind
Philipp Lahm Joshua Kimmich, although much is expected of Borussia Dortmund’s Jeremy Toljan and Bayer Leverkusen’s Benjamin Henrichs.
Brazil’s ageing legend Dani Alves faces little challenge to his first-team spot with Fagner playing for Corinthians, Danilo hardly playing at Man City and Rafinha also racking up the years.
Portugal can actually put forward a decent batch of right-siders, in Southampton’s Cedric Soares, Inter Milan’s Joao Cancelo and Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo.
So before you go to complain about England’s World Cup squad, pause and take breath.
It could be worse. We haven’t even mentioned Carl Jenkinson.
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