England

England right-back options - ranked

Jamie Spencer
Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Kieran Trippier & Trent Alexander-Arnold are vying for an England place
Kieran Trippier & Trent Alexander-Arnold are vying for an England place / Michael Regan/Getty Images
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England's incredible depth at right-back is no secret, evidenced by Gareth Southgate's decision to select four right-backs in his initial squad for Euro 2020.

Incredibly, even with Southgate pushing the boat out for his favourite position, several players could still count themselves unlucky to have not made the 26-man selection.

The 2021/22 season has seen even more right-backs burst onto the scene too. So many in fact that we even managed to create a pretty strong starting XI using only players who operate on the right side of defence.

Here is how those 11 - plus a few extra - are ranked in the battle for a place in the Three Lions team.


12. Luke Ayling (Leeds United)

Luke Ayling
Ayling has barely missed a game since Leeds returned to the top flight / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Luke Ayling was a right-back in name only in Marcelo Bielsa's system. Thanks to the man marking and high pressing El Loco encouraged, Ayling popped up all around the pitch during a game.

That's changed a little under Jesse Marsch, but either way, there'd have to be a serious injury crisis for Ayling to even be considered.

11. Max Aarons (Norwich)

Max Aarons, Jack Harrison
Aarons is a real talent / Stephen Pond/GettyImages

Once a target for Barcelona - remember that?! - Max Aarons is evidently talented, despite Norwich City looking like one of the worst teams in Premier League history this season just gone.

He needs a move away where he can really prove his worth.

10. Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)

Tariq Lamptey
Lamptey still has plenty of time to develop / Steve Bardens/GettyImages

Tariq Lamptey gambled on himself by moving away from boyhood club Chelsea at the age of 18, but it paid off because the youngster has thrived since joining Brighton.

However, he has not quite reached the same heights as his breakthrough campaign this season after returning from a bad injury. He has also been in talks with Ghana over representing their senior side.

9. Ben Johnson (West Ham)

Displacing the ever-present Vladimir Coufal in the West Ham side was mightily impressive from Ben Johnson.

He's also a terrific dancer.

8. Tino Livramento (Southampton)

Southampton v Aston Villa - Premier League
Livramento takes some catching / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Tino Livramento was one of the breakout stars of the 2021/22 Premier League season.

Zooming up and down the right side for Southampton, he has made that starting XI berth his own since arriving on the south coast. Still so young, it may be some time before he gets a senior call-up but one thing's for sure, it's definitely happening.

7. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Wan-Bissaka has had some tough days in recent times / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was once considered by many to be the best one-on-one defender in the Premier League, his long legs somehow capable of hooking the ball away from almost anybody.

Despite this, in more recent times, his inability to improve his offensive game and his poor positioning have become increasingly difficult to ignore. A maiden England cap seems further away than ever.

6. Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton)

Kyle Walker-Peters
Walker-Peters has proved a smart signing for Saints / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Thanks to the emergence of Livramento, Kyle Walker-Peters has been used on the left-hand side in recent times for Southampton.

Before that he made his name as a right-back, and despite some defensive shortcomings, his explosiveness and attacking have seen him become one of Saints' key players. He was handed his first senior cap by Southgate in the March internationals.

5. James Justin (Leicester)

James Justin, Baptiste Santamaria
Justin is back from a nasty injury layoff / Michael Regan/GettyImages

James Justin is versatile enough to play at right-back and left-back, and got his chance in the Premier League towards the end of the 2019/20 season, starting every game of ‘Project Restart’.

He really pushed on after that, filling the void left by Ben Chilwell's departure to Chelsea seamlessly.

Just as he was about to force his way into Southgate's plans though, he suffered a heartbreaking ACL injury. He has since returned to the fray and was almost immediately called back into the Three Lions squad.

4. Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United)

Kieran Trippier
Trippier still has an international future / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Kieran Trippier has some of the best delivery and set-piece ability of any active English player.

His transfer to Atletico Madrid was a surprising one - well, not for some of his mates actually - but it takes a strong character with drive to be a regular starter in a Diego Simeone team and he has managed that.

Trippier has looked as impressive as ever back in the Premier League with Newcastle, and brings experience and versatility to Southgate's squad at international level.

3. Kyle Walker (Man City)

Kyle Walker
Southgate is a big fan of Walker / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Despite a brief absence from the England squad a while back and even though he is the only player on this list the wrong side of 30, it remains impossible to look beyond Kyle Walker as a leading right-back.

Walker has been a key player for one of the best club sides that English football has ever seen over the last three years and has the versatility to play as an auxiliary centre-back in a back three if needed too.

2. Reece James (Chelsea)

Reece James
James is such a great all-rounder / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Reece James has become a favourite of Southgate's recently - and for good reason.

The Chelsea full-back has taken his game to the next level this season, with his momentum only being curtailed by some frustrating injuries. He has a huge future ahead of him in the international setup.

1. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent is a terrific set-piece taker / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best right-back England have at their disposal.

Defensively, Alexander-Arnold still has some things to learn and room to improve, but he puts up astounding attacking numbers. He could be game-changing for England as a wing-back flanking a back three.


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