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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Bosingwa, Johnson, Richards or Walker: Who is the best right back in the Premier League?

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Manchester City's Micah Richards was phenomenal on Sunday in City's demolition of rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford recently, but is Richards the best right back in the Premier League?

Writer Steve Coulter has been handed the job of drawing up a shortlist of contenders for you, the readers of, to choose the best, as we continue our quest to assemble the best Premier League starting XI.

Steve has narrowed his list down to four players; Chelsea's Jose Bosingwa, Liverpool's Glen Johnson, City's Micah Richards and Tottenham's Kyle Walker, but it's down to you to decide who is the best. So let's get cracking!


Kyle Walker

Still only 21 years of age, Kyle Walker is already one of the finest right backs in the country. His terrific attacking game has much been in evidence over the past month. The winning goal in the North London derby was followed by last weekend's assist in the victory over Blackburn. The latter was a typical piece of Walker play. A speedy dash to the byline was accompanied by an accurate cutback to Rafael Van Der Vaart.

His sparkling recent form will come as no surprise to many. The Sheffield-born defender made a favourable impression during loan spells at QPR and Aston Villa. He scored some great goals, most notably against Coventry City and Sheffield United.

It could be argued that Walker can be exposed defensively. Newcastle United seemed to target the right back in the recent St James' Park encounter. Jonas Guiterrez sped past Walker when setting up Demba Ba’s goal. Arsenal also netted from a right wing centre before Walker’s winner. 

But the young full back has time on his side. His defensive play can only benefit as he makes more first team appearances. Stan Collymore recently said that Walker will be England's right back for the next decade. 

Micah Richards

Manchester City’s right back will question Collymore’s judgement. Blessed with a fantastic physical strength, the defender is a tough proposition for any winger. He was outstanding in City’s marvellous win at Old Trafford, shackling Ashley Young’s considerable threat. The former Villa star has been one of this season stand out performers, but Richards had the better of the Derby day exchanges. 

Richards is certainly a better bet defensively than Kyle Walker. The City man also has the edge in the aerial dual. A fine header of the ball, Richards is a prominent player in both penalty areas. Last-minute equalisers at Villa Park and Goodison Park helped make a Richards a household name. Both goals were powerful headers from set pieces.

Although Richards is great going forward, I would say that the Spurs player has the better delivery. Walker is also a greater goal threat from open play. One thing is for sure, both are wonderfully talented players who will not let their country down.

Glen Johnson

Both Walker and Richards are hoping to match the achievements of the Liverpool man. Glen Johnson is a fine player with an eye for goal. Johnson loves to get forward and support his strikers. During his Portsmouth days the right back developed a reputation for spectacular goals. His Fratton Park block buster against Hull City won goal of the season.

These forward forays earned him a move to Liverpool. His forward play has continued to impress, but the defensive side of his game has been questioned. The Liverpool Kop website blamed Johnson for Norwich’s equaliser on Saturday. The right back was marking Grant Holt. Despite having a five-yard start on Holt, the defender allowed the Canaries' striker to nip in and score.

On the international front, Johnson has also experienced problems. In 2009 the ex-Chelsea man was criticised for Slovenia’s Wembley goal. His failure to cut out the initial cross was highlighted by several pundits. Fabio Capello was prompted to defend Johnson, claiming the Londoner was one of the best right backs in the world.

Jose Bosingwa

The ultimate attacking right back, Jose Bosingwa is a thrilling player to watch. He has pace to burn, often playing one-twos to create openings. A goal against Stoke City incorporated all these features. It is difficult to imagine many other full backs scoring such a goal.

In addition to his speed across the ground, the defender possess a strong shot which has rattled plenty of goalkeepers. As with any player there are negatives. Doubts have been raised on his ability to carry out the day job. His reluctance to stay at home can be exploited by the opposition. QPR certainly tried to pray on this weakness last weekend. However, the Portuguese could consider himself very unlucky to be sent off.

Critics have also pinpointed Bosingwa’s poor positional play. Although with the erratic David Luiz alongside, few would describe the full back as being the weak link. But the pros surely outweigh the cons. Boswinga’s forward flurries give Chelsea a valuable attacking option.

Article by Steve Coulter

So there you have it. Bosingwa, Johnson, Richards or Walker. Who do you think is the best right back in the Premier League? We'd love to hear from you.

Next week we will be turning our attention to who are the best two central defenders. If you'd like to have your say now, please use the feedback form below.

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Colin Illingworth



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