Greatest Right-backs in Premier League history: Full backs have been the most fashionable footballs until recent times. However, for decades now they have been the most harshly criticized footballers, in case of errors. Following our list of greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history, we now move on to right-backs.
3. Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Perhaps the most controversial inclusion, not just in this list but all of this series, Trent Alexander-Arnold is the most polarizing footballer in recent times. While there are criticisms in certain areas of his game. None can deny his ability to change a football game from his position better than almost anyone.
He has significantly contributed to his team’s success, displaying a constant threat from wide positions with an impressive tally of goals and assists. His prowess in crossing and delivering set-pieces stands out as remarkable.
Beyond his defensive duties, Alexander-Arnold’s vision and passing abilities are extraordinary for a defender. Operating as a playmaker from deep positions, he masterfully launches accurate long passes to ignite attacks and create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Over the years, Alexander-Arnold has honed his defensive skills, evolving into a well-rounded player at the back. His improved defensive positioning, tackling, and game-reading abilities have made him a more dependable presence in defense.
Adding to his versatility, Alexander-Arnold is equally at ease playing as a right-back or right-wing-back. Recently, he has been transitioning into a midfield role, providing his team with adaptability for different tactical setups.
Despite his relative youth, Alexander-Arnold exudes leadership qualities on the pitch. He is a vocal presence, directing his teammates and taking charge during high-pressure situations.
Even at a tender age, Alexander-Arnold has already achieved remarkable success, and his continuous growth continues to impress. Widely recognized as one of the most promising young talents in global football, his potential to further develop into a top-tier player makes him a thrilling prospect for both Liverpool and England.
While, his longevity can not rival other veterans of the league. His consistency and quality in the short period he has revolutionized the right-back position. That being said, the others who were in contention for the 3rd spot were Pablo Zabaleta and Rob Jones. Both of them did not come close to making a record number of appearances in the Premier League either.
2. Gary Neville – Manchester United
Maybe until a year or two ago, the Englishman was undoubtedly the best right-back in the league’s history. However, in my humble opinion he has been surpassed by the top position older. Neville played for Manchester United all his career, spanning 19 seasons. His presence as a regular in the starting lineup demonstrates his consistency and reliability, which are crucial traits for a defender.
With over 600 appearances for the club, Neville’s longevity in the Premier League is a testament to his fitness, dedication, and ability to maintain a high level of performance over many years.
Although he did not offer much going forward (5 goals in 400 league appearances), his primary role was as a defensive player, and he excelled in this aspect. Neville’s defensive skills included excellent positioning, tackling, and marking, making it difficult for opponents to break through Manchester United’s defense.
Over the years, Neville accumulated a wealth of experience, which helped him read the game effectively and make intelligent decisions on the pitch.
Neville was known for his leadership qualities, which earned him the captain’s armband for both Manchester United and the England national team. He was vocal on the pitch, organizing the defense and motivating his teammates.
Although primarily a right-back, Neville could also play as a central defender when needed. This versatility added depth to his contributions and allowed his managers to adapt their defensive setups.
1. Kyle Walker – Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City
Walker’s impressive stats and consistent performances throughout his career in the Premier League contribute to the argument for why he is considered one of the best right-backs in the league’s history.
With over 400 appearances in the Premier League, Walker’s longevity and ability to maintain a high level of performance over a long period are commendable. Staying at the top level for such a substantial number of seasons is a testament to his durability and commitment.
As a right-back, Walker has showcased excellent defensive abilities. His pace, physicality, and tackling skills make him a tough defender to beat, and he has proven to be a reliable presence in the backline for both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
Walker’s attacking prowess adds an extra dimension to his game. His ability to venture forward with pace, deliver accurate crosses, and contribute with goals and assists make him a valuable asset in both defensive and offensive situations.
Throughout his career, Walker has demonstrated versatility by playing in different tactical setups and positions, including right-wing-back and right-sided center-back. His adaptability makes him a valuable asset to any team.
Winning multiple Premier League titles with Manchester City showcases Walker’s impact on successful teams. His contributions to these title-winning campaigns highlight his importance as a key player in top-performing squads.
Walker has been a consistent threat to opposition wingers who could outpace other full backs. However, it would be interesting to see how Walker would adapt once his pace drops as he advances in age.
I hope you found the above piece interesting; if so, be sure to read some other articles on football. Don’t forget to check back for the Premier League greats’ next position.