Pundit thinks Chelsea star is better defensively than Liverpool counterpart

'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.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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.

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

“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.

Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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.

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"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."