Trent Alexander-Arnold is widely heralded as one of the best right-backs on the planet, but some observers don’t even think he’s the best in England.
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad is packed to the brim with players in TAA’s position to such an extent that Aston Villa’s Matty Cash would have likely been seventh or eighth choice right-back for England. Now he represents Poland. England’s wealth of options on that side of the defence is mirrored across Europe, with a host of brilliant options all bringing something slightly unique to the party.
🗳 Who is the best right-back in the world? #chooseday
— Futaa.com (@Futaacom) March 22, 2022
Trent is regarded as the planet’s most valuable right-back by transfermarkt and it’s not difficult to see why. The Liverpool man has become an assist-machine for the Reds and is one of the most creative and expensive passers of a football in the world game. TAA, as he is affectionately known, is now one of the cornerstones of Liverpool’s firebrand attacking football under Jürgen Klopp. The Liverpudlian is the definition of a modern right-back.
Moroccon superstar Achraf Hakimi, like Alexander-Arnold, is still only 23 years old but has already represented Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and PSG. His pedigree is without question. The next pertinent question: Will we one day see him in the Premier League?
João Cancelo, currently being deployed as a playmaking left-back by Pep Guardiola at Man City, is a natural right-back by trade but is so naturally gifted that he could play just about anywhere on a football pitch. Football comes very easily to the Portuguese star, who has a delightfully subtle passing range, and an ability to produce show-stopping moments of brilliance out of nowhere. It’s second to none.
Chelsea academy product Reece James is a supremely gifted athlete who can easily fill in on the right side of a central defensive trio, but he is at his happiest marauding down the right and whipping in devilishly accurate crosses. He’s also starting to hoover up a nice collection of trophies at Stamford Bridge. With Alexander-Arnold and James bombing down the right, England’s future in that position is secure for the next decade and more.
There’s also World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard, still only 25 years old, to consider. The Bayern Munich man hasn’t had the best year or two, by his standards, but he’s still a top player. And for all of the stick that Aaron Wan-Bissaka gets from Man United fans, it must be remembered that he’s an excellent one-v-one defender even if he isn’t the most enterprising going forward. Perhaps a change of scenery might do him some good?
Belgium and Leicester’s Timothy Castagne marked his return from injury at the weekend with a screamer against Brentford and his versatility certainly makes him one of the top 10 in the world in his position. He also happened to score that goal from left-back. Like Cancelo, though, he’s naturally a right-sider.
Arsenal’s new boy Takehiro Tomiyasu also deserves a mention; the Japanese star has settled seamlessly into life in England’s top-flight. Kyle Walker (31) and Giovanni Di Lorenzo (28) are still doing the business too.
World football is blessed with a bunch of quality right-backs. Who of your favourites have we missed? Let us know on Twitter and vote in our poll before it closes on Thursday!