You may say “Séamus Coleman, best right back in the league? Are you kidding? No way.” I ask you to give me a chance to state my case here. The Irish captain has to be in the discussion for one of the best in the league by any sane football fan. In this article, I will compare him to his direct competition and state what he means to Everton.
First, let’s name Séamus’ competition for the crown: Kyle Walker, Hector Bellerin, Antonio Valencia, and Nathaniel Clyne. Now let’s start knocking these competitors down. Antonio Valencia, the Manchester United right back, is probably the worst on this list of players. While Valencia only has played right back these past two seasons, he has done very well. He was a right midfielder for United for a long time but moved back under Van Gaal. His former position shows in his offensive ability from the right side of defense. However, his former position also shows in his sometimes poor defending. This is probably the easiest player to knock out of contention; however, Valenica is a key to how United play and deserves credit for that.
Next is Hector Bellerin, a top contender for the crown of best right back. Bellerin is an integral part to Arsenal’s attack that is always potent. Hector has extreme pace he can use to shred almost any player in the league. The Spanish fullback can and should replace Coleman at the top since Bellerin is only 21 years old. Unfortunately, he suffers from lack of experience and can be caught out in defense at times. A great example of this is Charlie Daniels’ goal against Arsenal in a 3-3 draw a few weeks ago. Daniels sneaks down the wing and Bellerin is far too close to his center half and allows Daniels into the box before he can catch up to him. At that point, Daniels is already off celebrating the goal. Another player controversially off the list and we are down to Walker and Clyne.
Up next is Nathaniel Clyne, the Liverpool right back. Now a Liverpool defender being on of the best sounds silly, I know, but Clyne is a great fullback. Clyne being a part of the defensive calamity that is the Liverpool back four does take away from his chance at being the king of right backs. This season has also seen slight drop in form from the Clyne of the past two seasons. The former Southampton man is a very well-rounded fullback but his solidity does make him lack a certain specialization. Clyne also starts behind the last of our competitors for England’s national squad and thus can’t be king.
Lastly is the Tottenham right back Kyle Walker. Walker is the strongest competition that Coleman has for the throne. The Tottenham defense is the best in the league and has been for the past two seasons. Walker is a great all-around fullback as he can bomb down the right to provide offensive support and can hold his own on defense. Walker is the weakest of the back four defensively and it shows. Sometimes walker bombs to far forward to much and it can leave his team exposed. The most damning of any of these slights against him however is his England displays. While Walker normally plays well for England his forward runs costs them. England does not have the best central defenders and the flanks can often be used to attack the Three Lions.
Now onto the main man – Séamus Coleman. The Everton right back has really come back into form this year. The Ireland captain struggled under Roberto Martinez but who wouldn’t struggle to defend under the coaching of Martinez. In Koeman’s 3-5-2 formation, however, Séamus has flourished. In the right wing-back role Coleman is allowed to go forward and provide dangerous crosses to Lukaku and co. Coleman also has the stamina and pace to get back and defend with Holgate on the right. While Coleman can sometimes get caught out on a ball over the top he is always reliable. Coleman is impressively the second top goal scorer for Everton in the league, which is amazing for a defender.
So there is my argument for the right back king in England. In my books Coleman takes a narrow victory over Walker. Is it bias that is sneaking its way into the argument? Maybe. I am a huge Everton fan and absolutely love Coleman. In fact, there is a Coleman jersey in my closet right now. You may not find that Coleman is your choice for the best right back still but I hope this has at least improved your view of him and his ability.