Attacking full-backs are not a modern phenomenon – see Carlos Alberto circa 1970 - but they have become more commonplace in recent times.
Players who can do a bit of everything have become a much sought-after commodity, especially in an era of wing-backs, diamond formations and false nines.
Focusing our attention on those who love life on the flanks, we find that the Premier League has become awash with players whose main priority may be to keep things tight at the back, but they are expected to offer much more than that.
Gone are the days when a man deployed on the right or left of a defensive unit could wile away the afternoon or evening looking along the line, ready to thrust his hand skywards as another successful offside trap is laid.
Managers now demand width and delivery on the top of the usual helping of tackles and blocks.
Who, though, best fits the mould in the Premier League class of 2014/15?
|Position||Team||Goal Assist||Total Cross||Accurate Cross||Total Tackle||Total Pass||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Aaron Cresswell||DF||West Ham||2||30||6||16||381||10||900|
|Gaël Clichy||DF||Man City||1||12||1||24||410||7||618|
|Aleksandar Kolarov||DF||Man City||1||28||10||5||205||6||373|
|Bacary Sagna||DF||Man City||0||11||2||6||129||3||200|
|Luke Shaw||DF||Man Utd||0||15||3||11||183||5||431|
It is no surprise to find Leighton Baines at the top of the charts, with the Everton left-back the rightful heir to a throne vacated by former Arsenal and Chelsea man Ashley Cole – with there just the right amount of pace, power and precision within his sturdy frame.
West Ham United followers will be pleased to see Aaron Cresswell among the frontrunners, with a man who forged quite a reputation during his time at Ipswich Town proving that he is deserving of a Premier League stage on which to display his talent.
Cesar Azpilicueta is Chelsea’s jack-of-all-trades, Seamus Coleman is the ideal partner in crime for Baines at Goodison Park, while Manchester City’s Aleksandar Kolarov boasts a wand of a left foot and Burnley’s Kieran Trippier is another of those proving that second tier form can be transferred to the top-flight.
It is, however, worth noting that all of those on the list above are of vital importance to their respective employers and will remain key cogs for the foreseeable future.