'Slightly ahead': Pundit thinks Chelsea star is better defensively than £60m Manchester City star
Steve Nicol suggested that Chelsea full-back Reece James was a better defender than Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo.
Speaking on ESPN, Nicol was asked to rank the three right-backs in order of overall quality.
There is no doubt the trio are the Premier League’s very best in their respective position.
Attack best form of defence
Each provide an excellent outlet going forward and are crucial to the makeup of the teams they represent.
According to WhoScored.com, Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold has made the second most key passes (34) and assists (six) in the division.
The statistical website also indicates that Manchester City’s £60 million man Cancelo (BBC Sport) is the most frequent passer in the top-flight, with 964 to his name.
James meanwhile has contributed towards the most league goals for Chelsea this term, scoring four times and assisting another five.
James just ahead of the rest
It is difficult to separate the three in terms of their offensive output, yet defensively, there is a disparity.
“From a defensive point of view, I would say Reece James is slightly ahead of the other two,” said Nicol.
“Overall, you’ve got to have Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“Then I think you have to have Reece James for the goals he’s been scoring recently and then Cancelo.”
For all his good work in attack, Alexander-Arnold’s actions in front of his own goal have often been put into question.
No such queries rest over James’ head, helped by the fact Chelsea are now a virtually impassable fortress under Thomas Tuchel.
This arguably gives him the edge in the race for England’s first-choice right-back.
Gareth Southgate has an abundance of talent in that area of the pitch, but the Red and Blue defenders are the two front runners.
A race that James is perhaps just slightly ahead in due to his defensive output.