Left Back: The One Position Where the England National Team Has So Much Talent

There has been much ballyhoo throughout the entire soccer world about England having trouble developing its talent, especially compared to rivals Spain and Germany at the moment.

Many have snickered at the Three Lions’ international performances throughout the last several years, since they were blitzed by Germany in that 2010 World Cup round of 16 match. And this past summer, the criticism inside and outside the country further intensified after the dreadful performances by both the Under-21s in Israel and the U-20 World Cup side in Turkey.

But England have done something that no other country in the world have been able to do at the moment, an under the radar achievement that definitely deserves its recognition. It’s something that surely could benefit them next summer in Brazil and for many years to come, and abate a few of the stories that the country who created the game is having trouble inventing significant talent in the modern age.

England have the best group of left backs in the world. Better than Spain, better than Germany, better than Brazil. Better than everyone else.

For how countries can go many years without having even a solid class left back, let alone a world class one, England have been blessed with having at least four top left backs, with two certainly having the right to say they have the label of being world class.

Those obviously two world class players are the moment are standouts Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines, who are still embroiled in that great battle to be the starting left back. Considering the incredible emergence of Baines over the last few seasons from solid Premier League player to a true star, the 100th plus capped Cole has done remarkably well to still hold a spot he has held for over 11 years — especially when Baines seems to score free kick goals for fun.

Cole has been one of the few bright spots in the rocky return for Jose Mourinho to Chelsea, but knows that he has no margin for error with both club (more on that later) and country with Baines forever nipping at his heels.

But what makes England’s depth remarkable at left back is not just Baines being able to replace Cole with no problem if something were to happen to the former Arsenal man, but the depth that has emerged right behind Baines. And the next two in that order reside in North London.

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  1. Dean Stell September 23, 2013
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