Jamie Carragher always said that ‘no one wants to be a full-back growing up; no one wants to be a Gary Neville.’
However, full-backs in the modern game are a completely different beast entirely compared to the obviously more defensive minded players of the early to late 2000s. Full-backs are not just expected to defend, but they are now expected to be an integral part of the attacking play, arguably having a bigger influence on offensive side of the game than midfielders these days. Perhaps maybe now youngsters are growing up dreaming of being the next world class full-back.
About two weeks ago, I looked at six of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, so I thought why not do the exact same thing but instead with full-backs.
Quick disclaimer, this time I am allowing more than one entry per team as I felt that this was the only fare way to compose this list, especially with the quality of players we currently have in the Premier League and well form is considered. So, without further to do, let’s get to it.
6. Lucas Digne (Everton)
Everton are having a good season this semester and Lucas Digne has been a big contributing factor to this.
The Frenchmen has a 64% tackle success rate, which isn’t bad at all for a modern day left-back, along with four goals and 17 assists in just 90 appearances. This is all in addition to him being signalled out by many as a key performer. Whilst his Premier League career is in its infancy, including him on this list was a no brainer.
5. Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace)
And now for arguably the biggest surprise of my list, in fifth place we have Patrick Van Aanholt. Whilst Crystal Palce’s number three might not grab all the headlines, you can’t deny that he is consistently strong going forward and, more expectedly I might add, at the back as well. He has a 68% tackle success rate and he has made 1,244 recoveries across his 209 appearances. He also has 20 goals and 15 assists, which more than proves that he can handle himself when going forward.
4. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Going into our top four and, honestly, you could make an argument for any of these players to top the list.
This just shows how important the full-back positions now are for Premier League teams. Many in fact might have thought that Trent would have topped this list; however, he is not having the best of a seasons compared to his own very high standards, and at times he can actually get caught out defensively.
All this considered, you can’t deny he has real quality. He has a 65% tackle success rate, has won over 350 duels, and helped his team keep 36 clean sheets in 120 games. This proves that he is indeed no slacker when it comes to defending.
But his most important contribution to the team his undeniably his attacking prowess: this is showcased by his 29 assists and 7 goals. He is arguably the best technical player on this list and, fans often forget, is only 22!
3. Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
From arguably the best full-back of last season, to arguably the best full-back of this season. Before the 2020/21 campaign many would have been shocked by Luke Shaw’s inclusion on a list like this but, recently, he has more than proven them wrong.
Shaw has always shown great potential but his career has been largely marked by injuries and it’s only been over the last six months or so that we have been able to see what he can really do with a run in the team.
Whilst Shaw might only have 12 assists and 2 goals in his 181 games, he more than makes up for this with his incredible 72% tackle success rate, 923 duels won and 52 clean sheets. You never know, he might even give Bruno Fernandes a run for Man United’s player of season this year.
2. Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Quite shockingly, Kyle Walker is often overlooked when considering the world’s best full-back’s.This might be due to the fact that he plays in a team of superstars; but, when you look at Walker’s statistics, it really is impressive.
Walker has a 76% tackle success rate, has kept 106 clean sheets,and made a whopping 1,678 recoveries over his 312 Premier League games. He also has 8 goals and 30 assists.
1. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
When Liverpool signed Andy Robertson from Hull for just £7 million pounds, no one could have predicted that he would become arguably the best left-back in world football, but, here we are. Whilst the Premier League champions haven’t had the best season, Robertson has still shone.
Over his 180 Premier League games, he has helped to keep 51 clean sheets, made 1,030 recoveries and won over 600 duels. In addition to this, he also has 5 goals and an incredible 37 assists. He is arguably the complete modern day full-back!
There we have it. The top six full-backs in the Premier League right now! If you think I left anyone out, let me know in the comments. As always, for all things football, keep it on FanHub.