When it comes to full-backs, it would be fair to say England are a little bit lopsided.
So, you like right backs, eh? Well, have all the right backs in the world! Left-backs more your thing? Well…the news isn’t quite as good.
There’s a bit of quality and a bit of promise, but compared to the other flank where you’ve got about five or six Champions League standard players banging on the door, the talent pool is much less straightforward.
Let’s take a look at Gareth Southgate’s current left-back options, with one eye on Euro 2024 next summer.
Henry has emerged as a candidate for selection after some eye-catching performances at left-back for Brentford. The attacking defender has plenty of pace and enjoys forays down the flank.
However, Henry suffered a knee injury earlier in the season and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2023/24 campaign. That would likely dash his slim hopes of making the Euro 2024 squad.
If Burn makes his way to Euro 2024, he will undoubtedly be the tallest left-back at the tournament. At 6’7, he would certainly be a unique option for Southgate.
Burn has been mightily impressive at Newcastle United, thriving in a less natural role under Eddie Howe.
With Southgate keen on his defenders primarily focusing on defensive duties, the former Brighton man could prosper if there are injuries.
Mitchell has been quietly climbing the pecking order at left-back and has already made his England debut. The Crystal Palace defender provides plenty of balance down the left flank and has been tremendously consistent for the Eagles.
While Mitchell is unlikely to be a player that gets pulses racing, he could prove to be a solid option for Southgate, and is clearly someone the England boss respects.
A hamstring injury ruled Chilwell out of the 2022 World Cup and fitness concerns have always threatened to derail the Chelsea defender’s career.
It’s no different this season, with Chilwell currently sidelined until December with yet another hamstring injury. The former Leicester City man is undoubtedly a supreme talent, but is a tough man to rely on.
Chilwell does offer something different to England’s other left-back options, with greater emphasis on the attacking part of the game. If fit, he can be a good rotation option with Southgate’s number-one choice.
Shaw secured his place in English football history by becoming the first player since Sir Geoff Hurst to score for the Three Lions in a major final at Euro 2020.
However, Shaw has struggled with injuries since then and has been sidelined during the 2023/24 campaign since Manchester United’s second game of the season against Tottenham.
While getting closer to a return, the 31-cap England international will need some time to get back up to speed. If he can avoid any more fitness problems, then Shaw is guaranteed a place on the plane for Euro 2024.
He will be competing with fellow injury-prone left-back Chilwell for a starting berth, but Shaw’s better defensive ability means he will probably be Southgate’s preferred choice.
*Editors note – Kieran Trippier and Levi Colwill included in right-back and centre-back options respectively.