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10-Nov-2020, 05:01 pm

'James is a better defender than Alexander-Arnold' - Johnson says Southgate has difficult England decision

Reece James Trent Alexander-Arnold England 2020-21

Reece James is a "better defender"than Trent Alexander-Arnold, according to Glen Johnson, who feels the England right-back position is a "toss-up"between the pair.

James, meanwhile, has come to the fore at Chelsea under Frank Lampard over the past 18 months and has also broken into the senior England squad.

Both players have been selected by Gareth Southgate for the upcoming friendly against the Republic of Ireland, and the Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Iceland.

However, Alexander-Arnold will now miss out on the games after suffering a calf injury in Liverpool’s draw with Manchester City on Sunday, while James is suspended for the Nations League games after being sent off against Denmark last month.

When both players are available for selection, former England full-back Johnson believes Southgate faces a difficult decision over who to start on the right side of defence.

“I would say, overall, it’s a toss-up between Trent and Reece James,” Johnson told when asked who England’s best option at right-back is.

“It depends on who you’re playing against of course, but I think Reece James is a better defender. I think he’s quicker, stronger.

“Trent is great on the ball, he’s a great footballer, and he’s very smart and a lot wiser than his age suggests. But in international football, you get a lot more time on the ball, so I think Trent would be number one, but Reece would be a fantastic back-up.”

Johnson has also backed Southgate’s decision to start with Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount over in-form Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish.

Former Blues defender Johnson added: “At the moment, I think he’s probably getting it right picking Mount.

“But look, in terms of what Grealish can do, of course, we’ve seen him in fantastic form, but it’s a difficult one.

“With Grealish, he’s Villa’s main man and loves being the main man, but when he goes to the England camp he’s not the main man.

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