Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has compared the traits and attributes of two England stars, noting that a combination of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka would be the “ultimate” option.
Gareth Southgate has something of a surplus at right-back, between the established names in his squad and a few up-and-coming alternatives who hope to make their case over the coming months.
While Champions League-winner Alexander-Arnold is currently in the frame on a regular basis along with Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Tripper, the likes of Wan-Bissaka, Reece James and even Max Aarons are all potential challengers.
Discussing the choices open to the national team, Ferdinand pointed out via his Instagram account that the Manchester United man had the defensive edge which might make him a great choice in more than one system.
“Aaron Wan-Bissaka one-versus-one, I’ve seen [Raheem] Sterling play against him and Sterling rinses everybody, [but] he finds it hard against Wan-Bissaka,” said Ferdinand.
“One-versus-one he will match you physically, he will run with you, he will slide on the floor if you’re getting away from him a little bit more and he has to go into overdrive.
“He can cover people, unbelievable. He could play right side of a back three at Man United if they wanted to, I think he’d be brilliant there.”
Ferdinand acknowledged that the Liverpool man had the edge in terms of technique and going forward, though. And while a hybrid of both players might be the ideal, if impractical, solution, the former England international pointed out that it could simply allow Southgate to pick and choose which took to the field depending on the job the team needed doing in that area of the pitch.
“If you moulded them two players together, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Trent Alexander-Arnold, you’ve got the best player.
“On the ball [Wan-Bissaka is] nowhere near as good as Trent, but Trent defensively one-on-one isn’t anywhere near as good as Wan-Bissaka, so if you had both of them you’ve got the ultimate machine.
“It depends on the game, If I knew I was going to have to defend a lot and I need someone to lock down the winger I’m bringing [Wan-Bissaka] on.”
The United defender is currently uncapped, while his Liverpool-based positional rival has nine caps for his country.
Trippier leads the way in terms of international appearances among those vying for the right-back spot, with 19, though Kyle Walker—out of the frame since the UEFA Nations League finals a year ago—clocked up almost 50 and is also still an option.
With the March friendlies being cancelled amid football’s shutdown, England’s next scheduled games are in June against Austria and Romania, though those could also be rescheduled if domestic action needs to play through that period.