England have not won the World Cup since 1966 and no one expects the Three Lions to win the competition in Russia in the summer of 2018, but there is no doubt that the current squad is very strong and has a lot of depth.
Everton’s Jordan Pickford is one of the best young goalkeepers in the Premier League, Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur is arguably the best striker in the world at the moment, while his Spurs teammate Dele Alli is one of the best young midfielders in Europe.
One area that England, who are 16/1 to win the tournament according to latest football betting odds, are very strong in is at right-back, and it will be interesting to see how head coach Gareth Southgate addresses that situation in the coming weeks and months. There are as many as three top-quality players who are fighting for the starting right-back spot in the England squad in Russia in the summer – Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur’s Kieran Trippier.
Walker is one of the best right-backs in Europe and has taken his game to a whole new level under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City this season. The 27-year-old has established himself as the first-choice England right-back when he was at Tottenham, and it is hard to see anyone replacing him in that position for the Three Lions anytime soon.
Not only is the former Sheffield United right-back superb going forward, but the Englishman is great at the back as well and knows how to defend and put timely challenges. Five assists in the Premier League and one in the Champions League so far this season underline just how important he can be in England scoring goals in Russia.
Kieran Trippier played second fiddle to Walker at Tottenham for two seasons, but the 27-year-old has now established himself as a key player for the North London outfit. The former Manchester City prospect has made only a handful of appearances for the England national football team, but the form and performances of Trippier so far this season have been superb. Not quite at the level of Walker yet, the former Burnley defender has provided four assists in the Premier League and two in the Champions League so far. Trippier will certainly be on the plane to Russia, and he will be waiting for Walker to make a mistake.
Nathaniel Clyne has only just returned to action after a long-term back injury and it will take the Liverpool right-back to get full match fitness, but there will be few who will argue against the notion that the 26-year-old is Walker’s main challenger in the England first team.
Blessed with pace and an acute sense of defending properly, the former Crystal Palace and Southampton defender has to be considered by Southgate for a spot in the England squad for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia. True, Clyne is not in a position at the moment to challenge Walker, but things could change in the final three or so months of the season, especially if manager Jurgen Klopp gives him valuable playing time.