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.
Here’s an exhaustive list of the runners, riders and outside shots for a left-back spot in the Three Lions squad.
Under normal circumstances, Ben Chilwell would be right up the rankings and expecting to be on the plane to Qatar this winter.
However, a hamstring injury has put his participation in doubt, with Chelsea manager Graham Potter admitting the knock “doesn’t look positive”.
Kyle Walker-Peters is a right-back by trade, but the outstanding form of teenager Tino Livramento in 2021/22 saw him shift over to the left side for Southampton.
Unfortunately, he’s another player sidelined by a hamstring injury, and won’t be in line to add to the couple of international appearances made earlier this year.
Matt Targett proved to be a success at Aston Villa before he was snapped up as a squad option for Newcastle.
He’s struggled for starts so far this season in a Magpies side that is threatening to break into the top four. Had he been playing regularly, Targett may have had an outside shot of making it into England’s World Cup squad.
However, he has been unable to break into Eddie Howe’s starting XI and any hopes of a maiden international bow anytime soon will have to wait.
Aaron Cresswell has been a mainstay of West Ham’s starting XI for almost a decade, and did once break into the England setup.
A dead-ball specialist, he’s renowned for whipping dangerous corners and crosses into the box, and has been known to score the odd banging free kick or two.
Playing in a back three isn’t a problem, but Cresswell has been exposed defensively a number of times. He was sent off twice for West Ham in the latter stages of the Europa League, after being caught on the wrong side of the advancing forward.
Wing-back Rico Henry’s performances have gone under the radar in what has been a great first season for Brentford in the Premier League.
He’s been great, but having basically started the Bees’ the campaign as a winger, he may need to spend more time as a conventional full-back before Southgate considers him.
If you like left backs to be 6’8, Dan Burn’s your guy.
The former Brighton defender defies the big man stereotype with sharp feet and dribbling and makes some brilliant blocks in Newcastle’s defence.
He’s blossomed late onto the Premier League scene and is yet to make his international debut, but his clear versatility could work in his favour.
If England plan to play with wing-backs, then there will be few more suited to the system than Ryan Sessegnon after nearly a year of learning under Antonio Conte.
The former Fulham star has also been working with Ivan Perisic to perfect his game and has been one of Tottenham’s more consistent performers in 2022.
A serious knee injury ended Justin’s 2020/21 campaign just as he was forcing his way into England contention.
Fortunately, Southgate values him highly and has regularly called on him whenever fit. Now he just needs to find some club form again.
Former AFC Wembley youth player Tyrick Mitchell has quietly established himself as one of the Premier League’s better defensive full-backs since breaking into the Crystal Palace first team.
He’s already been capped once but he may have to wait a while for another, though at least he’s already a familiar face to Southgate.
Luke 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.
It capped off an incredible season for Shaw, who ended the year as the best left-back in the Premier League.
Roll on a year and the tables have turned.
Shaw endured a miserable season plagued by injury and inconsistency, while he has since fallen out of favour under Erik ten Hag. Thankfully for him, Southgate is loyal to his trusted lieutenants.