The England Right-Back Crisis

This a massively personal opinion, but I genuinely believe we, as a footballing nation, have a problem on the right side of our defence.

In my opinion, we have not had a right-back of genuine quality in the England side since Gary Neville, a while before he retired mind – he was dire in the time leading up until he decided to retire for England and Manchester United.

It genuinely pains me to see Micah Richards left out in the cold for England. Under Fabio Capello, he was rarely included in the squads, either competitive or friendlies and in interviews. He never denied he was good enough for the England squad, but instead hinted at that he isn’t really the easiest player to manage and fit into a system that was deployed by Capello.

Then when he left and Stuart Pearce was installed as the caretaker manager of the England squad, he was recalled by Psycho. Unfortunately for the Manchester City defender, he was omitted from the Euro 2012 squad as it was a straight choice between Micah Richards or Phil Jones, and England opted for the latter. The next bit conforms to the fact he may be a bit hot-headed and refused to be apart of the stand-by list incase of injuries sustained within the squad. He was then drafted into the Olympic squad for Great Britain and impressed.

Now onto Kyle Walker, who I cannot stand to watch when he plays for England. I have never been convinced that he is all that he is cracked up to be and is massively overrated as a full-back. His positional sense is diabolical at times and is prone to switch off for periods of the game, like he did against Moldova.

Against a team that can actually play, they would of exploited the space in behind him. For me, a defender that has to rely on his recovery pace to be classed as “good” is the worst kind of player. I’d much rather have a slower full-back who can read a game and stay alert than a player who can bomb forward and known to score a worldie of a goal now and again.

Glen Johnson used to draw the same criticisms from me that I give to Walker now, but in the last year I’d say he has become much more tactically astute and doesn’t seem to get caught out as much as he used to, for both club and country.

In my eyes, Johnson was probably our best defender in the Euros. He certainly covered for John Terry’s clear lack of pace on several occasions if my memory serves me rightly. With Phil Jones capable to playing right-back, I’d rather have him being deployed as a centre-back so we can finally move on from the hangover left from John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.