Undrafted – The Network

Taking Sides: Reece James vs Trent Alexander Arnold

With Euro 2020 on the horizon, there has been a lot of debate about who the best English right back is. Reece James and Trent Alexander Arnold are probably two of the best in the world at what they do, but which of the two is the better player?

Reece James

By Antonio Ierubino

Reece James – FA CUP FINAL 2021
Image Credit – 90MIN

Nationality – English

Club Team – Chelsea FC

Preferred Position – Full Back / Wing Back

Even at just 21 years old, Reece James is very close to the finished article (no Chelsea bias here). His pathway to the Chelsea first team came off the back of a very successful loan spell with Wigan Athletic in the Championship, which has given him the foundations to be physically ready for the demands of the Premier League. Now a Champions League winner with Chelsea he has a taste for success having beat Man City in the final. It’s not like he coasted through that final either, James produced a huge performance up against Raheem Sterling.

James has the versatility to operate effectively as both a full back or wing back depending on the tactics and opponent. Something which gives him the upper hand over Trent Alexander Arnold who is much more comfortable in a back 4, as it allows him to attack the space from a deeper position. Thomas Tuchel recently showed that James can even be deployed as a right sided centre back in a 3 due to his ability to combat counter attacks with his strength and acceleration in one-on-one duels. This may even be something playing on Gareth’s Southgate’s mind as he is set to announce his starting 11 against Croatia in the Euros’s.

Reece James is positionally strong in both the attacking and defensive phases of games, meaning he rarely finds himself on the wrong side of the ball. He’s also technically very gifted on the ball and not afraid of striding forward with purpose, always looking to get into a position to put a ball into the penalty area. Whilst some critics say he should have more assists than he does to his name, it’s not a lack of quality in the final third that is the issue. It’s the simple fact that Chelsea are missing a top number 9 upfront to get on the end of his crosses. Suppose we’ll see an example of how Chelsea will line up next year come the Euro’s, Kane upfront and Reece James in defence ……

Over to you Murray!

Trent Alexander Arnold

By Murray Pugh

Trent Alexander Arnold
Image Credit – Liverpool FC

Nationality – English

Club Team – Liverpool FC

Preferred Position – Full Back

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Champions League and Premier League winner at the age of 22 years old is apparently not getting in the England squad. Imagine Roberto Carlos never going to a Copa America or World Cup final because his attacking was far superior to his defensive work, yeah mad to think isn’t it. 

England love a five in the back defence and Trent is a perfect fit for this (if he hadn’t just been ruled out by injury). I wonder who Kane would say he’d rather at RWB crossing the ball into him, Trent or James. I wonder who Gareth Southgate would want to take a corner/free kick in the dying moments to claw a draw vs Scotland in the 90th minute, Trent or James. James probably is a better defender but isn’t ‘clear’ of Trent at all. Alexander-Arnold has been up against the likes of Mbappe, Gnabry and Neymar to name a few and pretty sure we came out on top of all those games.

The way Trent plays is how Liverpool play, I’m sure if Mr Southgate told him to stay back he would but why waste such a talent when you can have your CB’s and CDM to drop in for him. If Gareth Southgate wants to build a winning England team then he needs winners on his team. Trent is a born winner and has already won the Champions League and Premier League. Before Reece James won the CL last week the only thing he won was the ‘Trent come outside’ award. There’s a reason every other teams supporters compare their RB’s to Trent. Now I’m not saying James is awful but there’s levels to this game.

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