Stats: Is James Milner a suitable option at right-back?

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson is set to use James Milner at right-back during the World Cup and will play him there in tonight's friendly against Ecuador.

The versatile Manchester City midfielder can play at right-back, and has done for the Citizens before, but with Glen Johnson the only recognised player in the position, Hodgson will look to Milner to fill in.

"James has got the qualities to play right-back, there may be moments in the World Cup where we'd like to use him there. This will give him some experience.

"He’s in the squad as a right or left-sided midfield player and that’s where we see him mostly, but it'll be interesting to see how he gets on at right-back. He’s played there before for Manchester City," Hodgson said.

Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have both made the side, and can both play there too but Hodgson would prefer to use them in their preferred roles at centre-backs, and will play them tonight against Ecuador in the heart of the defence.

Milner is such a valuable member to any squad because of his versatility but how will he fare on the right side of defence?

Looking at statistics from last season, Milner has all the qualities that a good fullback needs as he is reasonably quick off the mark, good in possession and solid in the tackle.

Despite seeing almost half the minutes on the pitch as Johnson did last season, the City man performed well in all the areas a fullback has to and he should suited to the role when called upon.

  TeamPosAppsmins / Accurate Crossmins / Accurate Passmins / Duel Wonmins / Interception Wonmins / Won TackleMins
James Milner Man City MF 31 75.44 2.16 16.17 135.80 48.50 1,358
Glen Johnson Liverpool DF 29 504.20 2.06 13.34 50.42 48.48 2,521

Milner played in an advanced position to Johnson, on the right side of midfield, and he managed to get far more accurate crosses into the box than the Liverpool defender.

His passing accuracy was also better, but he was not as effective on the defensive side of the ball, as would be expected.

Johnson won more duels and interceptions than Milner in respect of their minutes on the field, but being in a defensive position will encourage the former Aston Villa and Newcastle midfielder to make more of a contribution in those areas.

Looking at the stats, there is no reason why Milner can't perform well for England at right-back, and he will offer much needed support to Glen Johnson's position during the tournament.

It will be interesting to see how he get's on against the pacey Ecuadorian Jefferson Montero tonight, as the left-winger can be a real threat going forward.

Is James Milner an effective option at right-back?

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