We all know the classic footballing joke: left-back in the dressing room. A real side-splitter, I know.
However, long gone are the days where left-backs are the unfashionable defensive reject plying their trade on the touchline and in are the days of full-backs taking centre stage.
Besides, in a footballing climate where certain formations lean on just a single player on each flank, bombing up and down the wings, the full-back position has never been more important.
The world’s best left-backs
And as far as left-backs are concerned specifically, there’s no shortage of world-class talent holding down the defensive flank where right-wingers so often run riot.
So, when FourFourTwo continued their series on the world’s best players in each position, you knew there was going to be plenty of competition to be crowned the finest left-back in the business.
And with no less than five Premier League left-backs wiggling their way into the top ten, there’s no shortage of drama for English football fans, so be sure to check out their final selections below:
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10. Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)
Game time might have been reduced under Thomas Tuchel’s gaze, but Chilwell has still enjoyed a strong start to life at Chelsea and remains one of the Premier League’s best all-round full-backs.
9. Lucas Digne (Everton)
Forever underrated, Digne is only ever a few games away from a jaw-dropping cross, proving himself as one of Carlo Ancelotti’s most valuable assets with six assists to his name this season.
8. Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
A tad cruel, we think. Alba is nowhere near the force he once was, gradually declining as he ploughs deeper into his thirties, but we’d raise him a few notches based on his technical class alone.
7. Kieran Tierney (Arsenal)
One of few rays of sunshine in Arsenal‘s undulating form this season, there’s no denying that Tierney has his head screwed on both in attack and defence, even if seventh is rather generous.
6. Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)
One of the world’s best full-backs going forward, Guerreiro boasts a formidable record of nine assists in the Bundesliga this season and more than deserves his place in the top ten.
5. Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
Call us reactionary, but we’d probably push Shaw towards the top three if we honed in on current form because the United defender has been one of the Premier League’s best players this season.
4. Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid)
Slowly, but surely, we’re starting to see the best of Mendy in the famous white jersey and while it would be too early to brand him the ‘new Marcelo’, there’s no denying that he’s well on his way.
3. Theo Hernandez (AC Milan)
With four goals and five assists to his name this season, Hernandez has stood head and shoulders above his fellow left-backs in Serie A. It’s bonkers that he still hasn’t earned a cap for France.
2. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Even through Liverpool‘s dire form this season, Robertson has been one of few players who can hold their head high, consistently reminding everyone of his superb crossing and sturdy defending.
1. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Who could argue with this? A turbo-charged bag of tricks with a world-class footballing brain, Davies could probably ply his trade as a top-level winger, but he happens to be a top, top defender to boot.
Who is the world’s best left-back?
So, what do you think – have FFT hit the nail on the head or would you make some changes?
Personally, I think Shaw is breathing down Robertson’s neck a lot more than people think this season but if we’re talking the last few years, then I’ll happily give the Scot the benefit of the doubt.
Either way, though, let FFT’s selections remind us all that the Premier League is stacked with world-class talent and that’s just the players who get left-back on the flank. Truly hilarious, I know, I know.