Former Premier League footballer Darren Bent believes that Chelsea’s Reece James could rival Trent Alexander-Arnold for a right-back berth in the England squad.
Alexander-Arnold enjoyed an exceptional campaign last term for Liverpool as he helped the Reds towards Champions League glory, but Bent believes his counterpart at Chelsea no longer makes his place in the England starting lineup a certainty.
Bent feels there is not much to choose between the Blues teenager and the 7-cap England man, predicting that the pair could tussle for the same spot on the international stage for years to come.
He told TalkSPORT: “I’m such a big fan of this kid, it’s crazy.
“The unfortunate thing is that the person who plays in the same position as him [Cesar Azpilicueta] is the captain, but you can tell [Frank] Lampard is desperate to get him in now and play him because he’s ready to go.
“You look at his technical ability on the ball, I think he’s just as good as Trent.
“His passing and distribution is just as good.
“I think that right-back position for England at the moment is unbelievable. It’s going to be some fight over the next ten years for that position.”
Bent claims James’ passing is just as good as Alexander-Arnold’s, although the Chelsea youngster has an average pass rate of 90.2% in the Premier League this season (as per WhoScored) – far greater than the Liverpool full-back’s total of 74.4%, albeit from a vastly inferior number of minutes played.
The discrepancy could also be illustrated by Alexander-Arnold’s tendency to cross at will – with the 21-year-old averaging twice the amount of crosses and long balls as teammate Andrew Robertson, while James is yet to portray such traits for Chelsea.
Although James has not amassed the stats to be compared to Alexander-Arnold on a more level playing field, his almost instant impact at Chelsea and praise from other pundits demonstrate the promise the teenager holds, as well as the potential headache Gareth Southgate may have if his current trends continue.
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