Who can solve England’s left back problem?
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Who can solve England’s left back problem?

23/06/24 14:31

So far in the Euros, there has been a lot of talk on England’s struggles in midfield and up top, with Harry Kane’s playing style being criticised by some. However England’s biggest problem is at left-back, with Luke Shaw suffering an injury setback which looks set to see him miss the whole tournament.

With Kieran Trippier playing there, England’s attacks down that side always come back inside. There are many players who could have been called up by Gareth Southgate to play in that position, but he decided to put his faith in Shaw and Trippier which now looks a bit misguided. Here are three players who could have been a good choice to fill in, in England’s problem position.

Tyrick Mitchell

Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell has been ever present in Oliver Glasner’s team since the German took charge of the South London side. Even before then, he was a regular starter for the club, developing a good understanding with some of the players around him like Marc Guehi and Eberechi Eze, both of whom have been called up for the Three Lions’ Euros squad.

Mitchell has two caps to his name, so he is known to Southgate and the rest of his coaching staff. His attacking output is not of the levels of some others in his position, but he is defensively astute and left footed, something that seems to be a rarity in the England defence.

Lloyd Kelly

Lloyd Kelly seems to be more of a Southgate player than Mitchell, with the 25-year-old able to play as both a left-back and a centre back, a valuable asset. It is surprising then, that Kelly is yet to receive a call up to the national team. The reason behind this may be his injury record, but Southgate is happy to call up Shaw in that position, so completely ignoring a fully fit Kelly is a bit harsh.

Kelly left AFC Bournemouth as a free agent earlier this month, having spent five years on the south coast, captaining the side as they were promoted back to the Premier League in 2022. He rejected several approaches to renew his contract and instead signed for Newcastle, reuniting him with his old manager Eddie Howe.

Like Mitchell, Kelly isn’t known for his attacking attributes, but defensively, he is very strong, as well as being an aerial presence, standing at 6”2’.

Alfie Doughty

Alfie Doughty is surely destined for a Premier League move this summer, having been relegated with Luton Town last month. The 24-year-old scored twice and provided eight assists in the league last season, an impressive total for a player making his debut in the league, especially for a defender.

Doughty, unlike Mitchell and Kelly, is more known for his attacking contributions rather than his defensive ones, but against teams such as Serbia and Slovenia, that should be what England are looking for. Unfortunately, due to Southgate’s bias towards traditionally larger clubs, Doughty didn’t get his chance to shine this summer.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Jake Martin

Writer

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