What England right-backs will be at the World Cup?

Max Parsons
Will Trent Alexander-Arnold even be selected in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad?
Will Trent Alexander-Arnold even be selected in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad? / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

We're so very nearly there...

The first-ever mid-season World Cup is rapidly approaching, giving players little time to stake their claims to be included in those final squads; and, for English right-backs, that really isn't ideal.

There's already mountainous competition for places in Gareth Southgate's squad for that position, with some excellent players getting nowhere close to selection, so with just a few months before this season's showpiece event begins in November, who's likely to go to Qatar?

Here, 90min looks at the major English right-backs in contention (we've specified major because anything else would mean approaching novel territory) to travel for the 2022 World Cup - the following list of right-sided full-backs from England is, unfortunately for the England manager, definitely not exhaustive...

Kieran Trippier

Kieran Trippier
Kieran Trippier is a dependable option for Gareth Southgate / Boris Streubel/GettyImages

In spite of injury trying its best to curtail Kieran Trippier's return to English football, the full-back has looked excellent since leaving Atletico Madrid for Newcastle in January and is a consistent presence in the England squad when fit.

Thankfully, the Magpies man has enjoyed a strong and consistent start to the 2022/23 campaign without injury and, although not a guaranteed starter for the Three Lions, should be included in Qatar due to his flexibility to play on either flank - a trait that relieves Southgate's ironic struggle for left-back options.

Reece James

Reece James - Soccer Player - Born 1993
Reece James would have likely been Gareth Southgate's first choice were it not for injury / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Reece James' continued form for Chelsea and a barnstorming beginning to the 2022/23 season has firmly catapulted the wing-back to the top of Southgate's pecking order; a perfect hybrid of attacking vigour and defensive solidity, the 22-year-old doesn't look to have a ceiling.

When fit, there's no contention over England's starting right-back at the moment - well, that's the problem. With disaster striking in the Champions League in mid October, the powerhouse looks a major injury doubt for the World Cup.

Potentially ruled out for eight weeks, it's not looking promising for James and it's not looking ideal for Southgate.

Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker is a vital presence in the England squad / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Another sticky situation for Southgate is the fitness of Kyle Walker, who has been a constant in England squads for a number of years and has represented a key figure in the sides that did so well at the 2018 World Cup and EURO 2020.

70-time capped Walker had enjoyed a strong start to the campaign before suffering injury in October's Manchester derby but, despite original fears for his participation in Qatar, the Manchester City defender has expressed his hope of being ready when it comes to the squad announcement.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold divides opinion / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Now for the interesting one...

Is Trent Alexander-Arnold a world-class creator from deep? Yes.

Is he, in the words of Jamie O'Hara, a League One defender? Probably not, no. However, a rocky start to this season and some moments of despondency have once again highlighted his unacceptable frailties on the back foot - a facet of his game that has consistently put him out of favour with the England boss and, with international success on the line, you can understand why.

With injuries to James and Walker potentially narrowing England's right-back pick 'n' mix, Alexander-Arnold may well get a call-up to the Three Lions squad for Qatar. Would that be the case if Southgate had a full contingent to choose from? That is far less certain.

Kyle Walker-Peters

Kyle Walker-Peters
Kyle Walker-Peters has two caps to his name / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

English right-backs and injury seem to go hand in hand at the moment.

With the potential absences of James and Walker, stand-out Southampton performer Kyle Walker-Peters might have hoped for an outside shot at featuring in Qatar courtesy of consistently strong displays at domestic level as well as earning his first two international appearances this year.

However, following his forced removal from the field against Bournemouth recently - later confirmed to be due to what appears to be a serious hamstring injury - the Saints full-back is yet another fitness doubt for the World Cup.

Ben White

Ben White
Ben White should not be overlooked / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Given the unprecedented proximity of World Cup fixtures to club matches, form will undoubtedly play a huge role in determining squad lists. With this - and Southgate's injury-littered nightmares - in mind, Ben White should be considered a strong option, if not a certainty, for England's camp.

Arsenal have been a real force in the opening months of the season, boasting a newly-found collective strength, of which White is a key part. His flexibility has allowed him to accommodate William Saliba's rise to form in the Gunners' starting XI by moving out wide to the right-back position, where he has looked excellent in the Premier League's early stages.

Having not been selected by Southgate since earning his third and fourth caps in March, however, he might not be everyone's first choice - his form is undeniable, though.

What England right-backs will be at the World Cup?

So, with all of this to take into account, who can we expect Southgate to take on the plane?

A lot depends on the absent names' recoveries; while time looks to be too strong for James' injury to overcome, Walker's optimism would suggest he's a realistic option for the England boss - in which case, he'll have a seat reserved.

Trippier's status in the England set-up as well as his performances for Newcastle in recent months should also see him slot right into the squad. Meanwhile, despite neither being preferred options, James' probable absence could see both Alexander-Arnold and White benefit, with the latter's flexibility potentially proving a determining factor.

Whoever gets a spot in England's final squad, we're just glad it's not up to us.