Chris Sutton felt that Reece James and Ben Chilwell could be the first choice English full-back pairing because of the system they play at Chelsea, speaking on BBC Radio Five Live.

Both of the Blues defenders were selected by Gareth Southgate for England’s three World Cup qualifying group games.

Chilwell and James started the win over San Marino but were left out in the subsequent victory against Albania.

England v San Marino - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 25: (L-R) Reece James, James Ward-Prowse, Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady and John Stones of England line up prior to the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying match between England and San Marino at Wembley Stadium on March 25, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Regan – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Conversations continue to rumble on about which full-back pairing Southgate will go with at the European Championships this summer.

Manchester United duo Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissakka will certainly have a say on this matter, as will Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, among others.

Yet, Sutton felt that James and Chilwell would get Southgate’s approval because of how they are developing at Chelsea.

The former Blues forward said: “I just wonder: will Chilwell and Reece James have an advantage on all the other full backs in the England squad?

“I say this because Thomas Tuchel is now playing with wing-backs and these two can play full-back as well.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 04: Ben Chilwell (L) and Reece James of Chelsea inspect the pitch ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on March 04, 2021 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Chelsea Football Club/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“Gareth is talking about flexibility when they play against the strong nations. They are getting the continuity at Chelsea, whether that will give them advantage.”

Tuchel has deployed a three-man defence with wing-backs since he took over Chelsea, with some excellent results to boast.

James and Chilwell haven’t been regulars in this structure but are getting their fair share of minutes under the German manager.

It’s also a formation that Southgate has trialed before, most noticeably at the 2018 World Cup.

England Training Session
BAGSHOT, ENGLAND – MARCH 29: Gareth Southgate, Manager of England reacts during a training session ahead of an upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier against Poland at Pennyhill Park on March 29, 2021 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

He used it frequently in the last Nations League qualifying campaign and it wouldn’t be surprising if the England coach was to install it again against stronger opponents.

Because of their prior knowledge at club level, Chilwell and James could slot in easily.

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