Earlier in the season, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino's claim that Danny Rose was the best English left back this year was met with debate.
Ever a player that has split Spurs fans, Rose's energy, tenaciousness and attacking ability are lauded, but his defensive qualities are often called into question.
Nevertheless, England boss Roy Hodgson called the fullback up for a second time this season for the games against Slovenia and Italy in March, with Rose pulling out with an injury, and then came newspaper reports in the Mail this week that Manchester City wanted to sign the player this summer.
We have looked at a generous handful of the Premier League's best left backs in two tables below, one concerned with attacking statistics, the other with defensive stats.
Highlighting the four best results in each category, hopefully we'll be able to see if Rose makes it into the top quartet of left backs in the division, to both justify Pochettino's continued faith in the 24-year-old, and also see if reports of City's interest are deserved.
(Where more than one player have the same statistical result, the one with the fewer minutes played will be highlighted.)
Attacking statistics 2014/15
|Position||Team||Goals||Goal Assist||Total Att Assist||Ontarget Scoring Att||Won Corners||Touches||Successful Take-Ons||Passing Accuracy||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Aaron Cresswell||DF||West Ham||2||4||30||8||19||2028||16||71.76%||32||2880|
|Gaël Clichy||DF||Man City||1||3||26||2||4||1975||24||81.51%||23||2058|
Rose is noted as being more than capable of offering something going forward, having started his career as a winger. It is no surprise to see him figure in five out of eight of the categories listed above, being joint second when it comes to scoring goals and creating them and impressive when it comes to his dribbling skills. An area he could improve on, according to the above data, is his involvement on the ball and his passing success.
England left back Leighton Baines is present in all categories, suggesting that he is the country's best option from an attacking sense, but Rose is a close second from those above.
Defensive statistics 2014/15
|Position||Team||Interception Won||Effective Blocked Cross||Won Tackle||Effective Clearance||Ground Duel Won||Aerial Duel Won||Poss Won Def 3rd||Fouls||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Gaël Clichy||DF||Man City||77||13||47||78||116||24||80||11||23||2058|
|Patrick van Aanholt||DF||Sunderland||49||15||47||62||112||11||79||18||22||1766|
|Aaron Cresswell||DF||West Ham||30||29||27||131||128||46||86||15||32||2880|
As mentioned previously, much of the doubts about Rose's ability at left back comes from concerns about the defensive side of his game. But the information above shows that, statistically at least, he has in fact been one of the best in the division this year. Rose is among the top performers in five departments, and is the top tackling defender in the whole league with 64 tackles won. He is also second best when it comes to winning ground duels for possession and winning possession in the defensive third. One area he has to work on is his tendency to foul - no defender has conceded more free-kicks than the Spurs defender.
But despite that, Rose is again second best in the league here, alongside West Ham's Aaron Cresswell, despite the information being pulled from a defensive perspective, with Swansea's Neil Taylor appearing to be the best defender after featuring in six sets of defensive data.
Of the sixteen categories looked at for the investigation, eight attacking and eight defensive, Rose is among the top performing left backs in ten of them, more than any other player. Baines figured in no defensive categories, while there must be an honourable mention for West Ham's Cresswell, who figured nine times - including in five defensive areas.
Interestingly, Man City's Gael Clichy was involved in three attacking categories and just two defensive stats.
So maybe there is some basis for Rose to be held up as one of, if not the best left back in this season's Premier League.
We'll let you discuss in the comments section below.