If there was one position that England could not afford to lose a player for the World Cup qualifier against Poland on Tuesday it was at right-back.
When Tottenham Hotspur defender Kyle Walker made a ridiculous foul on the edge of the penalty box he not only gave away an unnecessary free-kick, but received a booking - a booking that ruled him out of the crunch Wembley tie with Poland on in a few days’ time.
Roy Hodgson reeled away in fury. The England boss was clearly irate at the Spurs man, and you didn’t need to be a lip-reader to understand that he was shouting ‘YOU STUPID BOY’ as he punched the air in vehemence.
With Glen Johnson currently out injured, Walker was the only frontline right-back left available to Hodgson.
Now, no matter who he puts in that position will be a makeshift right-back, playing out of their usual position.
Whoever it is will be going up against either Waldemar Sobota or Jakub Blaszczykowski in the game - to talented wingers who will love to come up against an inexperienced player in that position.
So the question is, who do England play at right-back?
The Manchester United man has become something of a jack-of-all-trades since arriving at Old Trafford from Blackburn Rovers. A centre-back, yes, a central midfielder, probably his best position, a right back - that, he is not.
But he can do a job there, even if it is not his best position on a football field.
Another United player who is capable at full-back, even if it isn’t his best position, is Smalling.
The former Fulham player will offer an aerial presence, but in a game where a victory is needed not much offensively - so he might not be a wise choice.
Fabio Capello once used the Manchester City midfielder at full-back, and he has all the attributes to play there. Physically fit and strong he has the right dimensions for the role, and would pose an attacking threat.
But in a game of this magnitude, playing an inexperienced full-back could be suicide.
The Everton man has played at right back for both club and country before, and his deceptive pace make him an asset on the wide position.
He is also not afraid to go forward when playing the role, so could be the best option.
However, he and Gary Cahill have formed a good relationship in the heart of the England defence - and disrupting that would not be a wise decision from the boss.
So in reality, none are ideal, but this is not an ideal situation thanks to a moment of stupidity from Walker.
But which player is the best option at right back?
image: © wonker