After Roy Hodgson’s England squad announcement a few weeks ago, there were no real surprises in the inclusions. However, some England fans felt that we look particularly weak in the right-back area, with Glen Johnson as the only natural right-back selected.
Manchester United’s Phil Jones and Chris Smalling can also play there, but are more natural centre-backs, and for the good of their ability and future, should only be played in centre-back, so for this reason I have omitted them from this article. The other 3 candidates that possibly deserve a call-up are Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward, Southampton’s Calum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne; we should take note that had Tottenham’s Kyle Walker been fit, it’s almost inevitable that he’d have been in the squad.
Firstly, Glen Johnson. The Liverpool right-back has been a consistent performer in the England squad and has had another decent season at Anfield. With a good tackle success rate of 81%, going forward, he is also a force, creating 28 chances for his teammates. However, there have been some indications that Glen Johnson is perhaps over-rated by some, and at times can be a liability, which he has shown signs of at times this season.
Secondly, Joel Ward. Joel Ward has had a fantastic season for Tony Pulis’ Crystal Palace, putting in consistent performances throughout and the pick for many fans as Walker’s potential replacement in this squad. His stats show just why he is so highly rated, with an impressive 89% tackle success rate, which out of 114 is incredibly impressive. England fans also like a full-back that can attack, and Ward’s stats in this area are also good, with 2 assists this season and creating 20 chances and 2 clear cut chances across the season, which are very decent stats for a full-back. Finally, his passing stats are also good, with a 75% pass completion, which is another important attribute of an England full-back.
Thirdly, Nathaniel Clyne. Clyne has had another good season in the Premier League, pushing claims for him to be selected in Hodgson’s 23. Clyne’s main attribute is his pace, which contributes to the stat of only being dribbled past 9 times all season. Although, his lack of ability in the air is a problem with only 30% of his aerial duels being won. Clyne’s attacking ability is good, creating 28 chances for his team, 4 of those being assists, and the highest crossing accuracy of the 4 with 25%. Maybe Clyne is one for the future?
Finally, Calum Chambers. At just 19, Chambers has shown he has the ability to defend and attack. Similar to his Southampton team-mate Luke Shaw, he is wanted by bigger clubs this summer, after an impressive season in the Premier League. Chambers managed to get a fantastic 87 crosses in, with an accuracy of 21%, showing once again his drive to get forward. His defensive stats are also good, having a tackle success rate of 84% and winning 56% of his aerial duels. However, unlike Shaw, this World Cup may come too early for someone who has only just broken into the first team for the Saints. But there is no doubt in my mind that Calum Chambers will go on to be one for the future.
So to conclude, Roy Hodgson could have potentially picked any of Ward, Clyne or Chambers and a lot of England fans would be happy. Perhaps it was a mistake not to, but I am sure that one day you will see all 3 pull on the famous three lions shirt and play their hearts out.