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Football News: World's Best Left Backs?

World's best left backs?

The problem with picking out left backs in particular, though this does apply to an extent to all defensive positions, is that the basics seem no longer to be taught. There just are very few, if any, left backs who can actually defend, they are usually just wingers who sometimes drop deep to help out the real defenders. How often do we have to be 'treated' to the sight of Liverpool left back Alberto Moreno diving in from the wrong side, before coaches actually begin to teach players the basics of defending? How difficult is it to get your players to get themselves goalside before making a challenge when possible, for instance?

Anyway, enough of me ranting and on to the list, I have tried to pick from players I have seen this season and have played well. So that does limit my choices, as I did not want to pick any on reputation or past performances. Though it did leave me stuck with a couple of choices I am not sure what to do with!

David Alaba
Very rarely tested defensively playing for Bayern Munich, so it is difficult to judge his defending, but going forward he is one of, maybe even the, best. While he is not strong in the air, he is lightning quick and has plenty of stamina to get up and down the line. Is also very capable of delivering a good cross. He can be caught out by an early ball, as he does look to get forward quickly, but that is something that applies to almost all modern wingbacks.

The epitome of the modern wing back, hopeless defensively but good going forward. Barely makes it into the list, mainly in there because of a lack of quality options to pick from. Had the potential to be so much more, but he does not do enough defensively or put in enough effort getting back, to be world class. Luckily for him, he plays for Real Madrid and they will always value attack over defence.

Alex Sandro
Another one playing for the dominant team in his league, in this case Juventus in Serie A, so it is very difficult to judge his quality in defence. Again though, his effectiveness in the attacking third has led to his inclusion.

Cezar Azpilicueta
This is one player who it is very difficult to leave out and just as difficult to include him! He has been that almost non-existent left back that can defend in recent years, though he was more of a right back filling in on the left. Now he is playing just as well at centre back in a back three, so really probably should not be in this list. However, I feel he deserves inclusion, he has been a central figure for Chelsea in recent years, no matter what position he finds himself played in.

Layvin Kurzawa
This lad impresses me every time I see him play, no wonder Paris Saint Germain signed him from AS Monaco. A very willing worker, with pace, good delivery and seems very capable defensively.

Filipe Luis
Not sure why it did not work out for the Brazilian at Chelsea, but a return to Atletico Madrid has seen him return to excellence. He is one of the better defenders, though also excellent as an attacking wing back. Stronger in the air than the average full back as well.

Danny Rose
I have never been a fan of Danny Rose, when he emerged as a youngster at Leeds United, he was rash, wild even, a left midfielder without the skill to make it playing that position. Since his move to Tottenham Hotspur, he has ended up being moved back to full back, but he was still wild and hopeless defensively, consistently caught out of position. However, he has always worked hard and looked to get forward at every opportunity, even though sometimes that left Spurs open at the back. The last few seasons, Spurs have changed their system to protect the space behind the fullbacks and he has made full use of the freedom. Still not the best defensively, but he has become such a major part of the way they play that they looked a much weaker side while he was out injured. If for no other reason Rose deserves inclusion for the way he improves Spurs when he plays.

Ryan Bertrand
Without doubt Southampton's Ryan Bertrand is the best current English left back. Leaving Chelsea, where he struggled to hold down a place, has been the making of him. One of the few who is genuinely capable of defending as well as attacking.

Sead Kolasinac
The FC Schalke 04's contract is expiring in the summer which makes him a hot property right now. Turning 24 in June, the Bosnia-Herzegovinian international is certain to join a big club.

Benjamin Mendy
AS Monaco may have lost Kurzawa in the last couple of years, but they have found a very able replacement in Mendy, who has been an integral part of their exciting young team that currently tops Ligue Un. At just 22 years old, Mendy has the potential to make major improvements to his game.

Jetro Willems
The PSV Eindhoven left back just scrapes in to this list, as he has not been as good this season as he looked in previous years. Still only young at 22, so plenty of time for him to get back to his best and improve beyond it though.

Andrew Robertson
Hull City's Scottish left back is not even the best Scottish full back, but still makes this list by virtue of his excellent delivery. One of the better players at crossing, which is still one of the most useful weapons available to a wide player. He does need to work on his defending, but he has shown massive progress over the last couple of seasons.

Christian Fuchs
While not playing at the level he did last season, when the Austrian captain was part of the Leicester City 'miracle' Premier League title win, Fuchs has still been one of the best fullbacks in European football. Defensively capable and has an excellent left foot, he is more of an old school fullback, rather than a wing back, though he does get forward well.

Kieran Tierney
Probably the best left back prospect in European football right now. While he does play for Celtic, who are light years ahead of the rest of the teams in the SPFL, he is a big part of the reason they are so far ahead of the rest. One of the better players defensively, though still with a lot to learn, he is also excellent on the ball. Celtic will do well to hold onto him in the summer.

Written by Tris Burke February 28 2017 05:54:17