There’s been a lot of talk lately surrounding England’s wealth of options at right-back.
While Kyle Walker, Reece James and Kieran Trippier were named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the March internationals, the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be expecting to be in the picture when the Three Lions boss names his squad for the European Championship this summer.
Meanwhile, with Matty Cash, Tariq Lamptey, Max Aarons and James Justin all viable options for Southgate moving forward, it’s fair to say he’s in for his fair share of selection headaches.
However, with so much talk about who will be given the nod at right-back, there’s been little mention of England’s left-back dilemma.
Ben Chilwell was afforded a start in England’s first 2022 World Cup qualifier against San Marino, and while people will be quick to point out the strength of the opposition (or lack of) as England easily dispatched of international football’s whipping boys, there was a clear emphasis on England attacking from the left-hand side – something the Chelsea man facilitated brilliantly.
Manchester United’s Luke Shaw was given his chance against Albania, and he too produced an impressive display as England made it two wins from two.
Southgate opted to shuffle his pack yet again at home to Poland on Wednesday night, with Chilwell restored to the starting XI, and he again did his bid to be his county’s first-choice right-back no harm at all.
The Three Lions again looked to attack predominantly from the left, with Chilwell using his pace and energy to stretch the Poland backline and open up the game.
The visitors simply couldn’t cope with the Chelsea man’s runs and were it not for a wayward Phil Foden header Chilwell would have notched himself an assist in the opening eight minutes of the game.
Of course, as England come up against stiffer opposition in their bid to be crowned European champions this summer, Chilwell will be required to do so much more than just be able to provide an attacking outlet on the left-hand side and surge forward all game.
Despite his lofty £50m move to Chelsea in the summer, the former Leicester man has been accused of being shaky defensively at times throughout his career. However, his display against Poland did little to suggest Southgate had any worries with the defensive side of the Chelsea man's game.
The next time Southgate comes to pick a Three Lions squad, he'll be selecting the players looking to end England's years of major tournament hurt at Euro 2020. Both Chilwell and Shaw will undoubtedly be named in said squad, but as for who gets the nod in the starting XI - it really is anyone's guess.
Shaw is enjoying his finest season since joining United in 2014, and while Chilwell may have struggled to adapt to life at Chelsea since his move to Stamford Bridge last summer, he's shown the character and the quality to be able to firmly cement his place in Thomas Tuchel's plans going forward.
One thing's for sure though, Southgate has a huge selection headache ahead of him, and it's not just the right-back spot he needs to be thinking about.
Source : 90min