Football

England have a problem at right-back

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Since Gary Neville played his last game for England in 2007, the Three Lions have struggled to finds a solid right-back.

Long gone are the days when England's problem position was that left-midfield role, managers came and went trying various options in that position including Emile Heskey, Gareth Barry and Steven Gerrard.

But now with the wealth of wide attacking options such as Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andros Townsend and Danny Welbeck, Roy Hodgson faces no such problem.

Instead, England's problem is in defence. In particular, the right-back slot.

Glen Johnson

Currently the number one choice for Hodgson, Johnson is the Three Lions' only specialised right-back in the squad for the World Cup due to an injury to second choice Kyle Walker.

Despite playing in a Liverpool side that performed above expectations and only just missed out on the title, Johnson was a player who failed to impress. Aged 29, he has lost some of the pace and his defensive positioning is questionable. He showed his defensive vulnerability this season as he was at fault for two of the three goals conceded as Liverpool threw away a 3-0 lead at "Crystanbul". 

He does appear to get into good attacking positions but no goals and two assists in 29 Premier League appearances is not a good return for a full-back who attacks as much as he does.

By comparison, Everton's full-backs Leighton Baines (five goals, four assists) and Seamus Coleman (six goals, two assists) provide a much more efficient attacking threat despite playing in a lesser-performing team.

Given Liverpool's narrow midfield diamond, the space for the full-backs was there to attack and exploit, however from the right side at least they didn't get the quality.

Kyle Walker

The Tottenham full-back possesses frightening pace, but little else. Like Johnson, he gets into good attacking positions but is found wanting when it comes to his defending and his decision making.

His pace often means he is able to recover from his mistakes, but now aged 24 he should be a more complete defender. His record of one goal and two assists does not compare well with the league's best full-backs and Spurs conceded 51 goals this season, showing that they were not solid at the back. He has room to improve, but by the time he does, it could be too late for his international career.

Jon Flanagan

An English Liverpool fullback who has impressed this season is Flanagan, aged just 21. His solid displays out of position at left-back have earned him an place on the standby list for England's World Cup squad.

Much like Ashley Cole, it is his defensive ability that has drawn plaudits, but even so he has contributed one goal and one assist in only 23 game this season. With plenty of time to develop maybe the future is bright for England.

He will need to gain international experience before making an appearance at a major tournament, but Flanagan has all the ability to become a dangerous, yet solid player for club and country.

Southampton's production line of talent looks to add to the right-back options, with Nathaniel Clyne and Callum Chambers both impressing this season. They will be looking to emulate team-mate Luke Shaw by breaking into the England squad. 

Could Cole have been included in the squad to play at right-back, similar to how Azpilicueta has been used for Chelsea this year?

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Topics:
Glen Johnson
England Football
Football
Kyle Walker

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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