Should this Southampton duo be given an England chance?

Clyne Tackles Gervinho

Calum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne continue to impress for the South Coast outfit with Adam Lallana talking up his teammates' chances.

Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker have for, what seems an eternity, been the mainstays in a problem position for England.

The duo's forward-thinking capabilities are unquestionable and have served England adequately during their respective spells at right-back but there remain palpable question marks surrounding their defensive quality, particularly against the sort of widemen they can be expected to face in the World Cup this summer in Brazil.

Meanwhile, lurking in the shadows are two up-and-coming full-backs in Calum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne straight from the modern-day mould who are trying to gatecrash the party, late admittedly, in their attempts to steal a World Cup spot.

It appears as if their efforts will be in vain, with manager Roy Hodgson's 30-strong squad for this week's international with Denmark appearing to be his nucleus to work from before cutting it down to 23 for the finals.

But even still, should they have been given the nod - particularly with Walker sidelined through a hip complaint - given their blossoming reputations?

They have battled valiantly in an effort to displace one another and the performances have increased as a result of the competition on Clyne from Chambers, something which their Saints teammate Adam Lallana certainly believes stands them in good stead for upcoming England squads, even if this time may be just too soon.

So, with four options dividing into only two slots, has Hodgson got it right with the two he has chosen to keep faith in?

It would be rational to first assess each player's defensive worth and how this would affect their candidacy of breaking through into Hodgson's setup. 

And there are certainly some encouraging impressions to be drawn from the table below. It best epitomises Chambers' youthful exuberance and passion that he tops the tackling charts with 85%.

Johnson is the next highest with 74%, with Clyne surprisingly straggling with 81%. It is a similar story in each player's aerial duels, where the average success rate per game drops rapidly from the loftier totals associated with more common traits of a full-back.

Clyne's total of 27% does not warrant much of a mention while Walker fares best with 64%, but it is still a relatively lowly numeral in contrast to his tackling percentage. 

Another crucial aspect to England's play this summer will be in how nullify opponents by retaining possession. It appears imperative that Hodgson instils this from back to front. He may have found the ultimate package in Walker.

His stats read consistently across the board and, with his passing, he falls just one per cent shy of Johnson's 84%.

Walker (83.44) and Johnson (74.89) also provide Hodgson with two performers accustomed to working in teams who take care of the ball, as reflected in their respective amounts of touches.

Both Spurs and Liverpool dictate possession more freely and regularly than the Saints and Chambers (79%) and Clyne's (80%) passing have taken a subsequent hit because of this. The latter of the duo posts just 60.12 touches per game too and, at international level, there can be no shirking of responsibility and no places to hide.

Indeed, the only area the former Crystal Palace man does commandeer any sort of claim for the right defensive berth is through a lack of fouls. Chambers, by contrast, attempts the second-most tackles and comes out on top in terms of foul play, hinting at a naivety in his play still.

Walker and Johnson are two surefire bets to be in the World Cup squad and it would take something momentous in the Saints' final 10 games of the league campaign from either Chambers or Clyne to alter that perception.

But if you had turned round to Luke Shaw just months ago and offered him a debut cap, he would have laughed. Chambers certainly seems the more all-rounded performer and, as the old adage goes, it's not over until the fat lady sings.

They will both presumably tune in to the Denmark friendly to help cheer on the current Saints quartet but there will be a desire to emulate burning bright in both as Hodgson gets ready for some big decisions.

NameTeamPosTotal Pass / appsAccurate Pass / appsTouches / appsTotal Tackle / appsWon Tackle / appsFouls / appsAerial Lost / appsAerial Won / appsAppsMins
Kyle Walker Spurs DF 53.80 44.20 83.44 2.08 1.72 0.92 1.12 1.96 25 2,208
Glen Johnson Liverpool DF 46.53 38.42 74.89 2.37 2.00 0.84 2.21 1.79 19 1,621
Calum Chambers Southampton MF 39.88 31.53 70.76 2.29 1.94 1.06 1.59 1.88 17 1,339
Nathaniel Clyne Southampton DF 36.35 28.94 60.12 2.12 1.71 0.76 1.12 0.41 17 1,253

image: © ronnie macdonald

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