5 best Premier League right backs of all time
One of the most physically demanding positions in modern-day football, the full-backs, have their work cut out. Bombarding runs down the flank, neat one-two’s with a fellow forward and last ditch tackles are some of the many responsibilities put on the shoulders of these men.
While some wilt under pressure, there are a chosen few who outperform the rest and make it big. The Premier League has played host to some quality right-backs over the decades.
Here are five of the best right-backs in the Premier League era:
Another Gunner in our list, the Cameroonian international was part of the famous ‘Invincibles’ team. A midfielder by trade, Lauren was converted into an attacking right-back at North London. Despite an injury-laden career, the defender made the most of his chances and turned out to be one best premier league right backs of all time.
Lauren played a total of 159 games for Arsenal, scoring on seven occasions, including a fabulous strike against Liverpool in what was his second game for the club. Two league titles, three FA Cups and two Community Shield titles were some his major accomplishments in England.
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He left for Portsmouth in 2007, where he was a key player for Harry Redknapp. Post retirement, Lauren has taken up punditry and does a darn good job on Sky Sports.
4. Lee Dixon
A full-back who served his club with utmost distinction, Lee Dixon enjoyed 14 fruitful seasons with Arsenal. The Manchester-born right back’s rise to the top started at Stoke City, where he formed a lethal defensive partnership with Steve Bould. Numerous impressive performances for the Potters landed them a contract with the North-London club.
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However, it was the former who made the most of his chances and went on to cement his position at the club for another decade. Dixon was a menace going forward, creating goals out of mere half chances. He scored 25 times for Arsenal, and his temperament stood out the most, proving to be the calming influence for his fellow defenders making him one of the best right backs of his time.
Unlike current Arsenal players, Dixon is no stranger to winning medals and trophies. He tasted success eight times, which included four league titles and three FA Cups. He retired in 2002 as a 37-year-old club legend.
3. Branislav Ivanovic
The Serbian international has been a vital cog for Chelsea in recent years. His never-say-die attitude and commitment towards the game is humbling to watch. Unlike most full-backs, Ivanovic is not gifted with blistering pace.
However, his calmness during possession and sensational passing abilities made him one of the best premier league right-backs to have ever played the game. As far as defending is concerned, he produced the goods on a regular basis. Crunching challenges down the right flank followed by a mean diagonal ball was a common sight during his peak.
Ivanovic has never shied away from attacking despite his agility levels. He is well known for his aerial ability, which when combined with his strength, has helped him in scoring numerous goals during his career.
His aggression on the pitch has won him the hearts of many football fans. Jose Mourinho praised him and said that the Serbian defender is a ‘competitive animal with a big heart’. Ivanovic has made 367 appearances for Chelsea to date and has established himself as one of the best full-backs in Premier League history.
2. Bacary Sagna
The Frenchman is one of the most underrated and unlucky footballers to have ever played the game. For a player of his magnitude, trophies have eluded him as he has only lifted the FA Cup (once, with Arsenal in 2014) and the League Cup (once, with City last season.)
As far as talent is concerned, the Frenchman tops the chart. Blessed with pace, Sagna could go on marauding runs down the right flank and cause havoc in the opposition’s defence. His crossing ability is spot-on and has assisted many goals during his stay in England.
In an interview in 2011, Arsene Wenger described Sagna as the best right back in the Premier League. Inspired by his boss’ comments, he had a wonderful season and was part of PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year in 2011.
After seven years and 284 appearances for the North London club, Sagna moved to Manchester City, where he is Pep Guardiola’s first choice right-back and one of the league’s best right-backs.
1. Gary Neville
Manchester United’s ‘ Mr. Reliable’, Gary Neville has been a key part in the club’s dominance for the better part of two decades. Although the Englishman lacked in talent, he poured his heart and soul for the club every single game.
As his career progressed at Old Trafford, Neville gained in confidence and established himself as one of the best right backs in EPL. He played a major role in Manchester United’s unprecedented treble in 1999.
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Following Roy Keane’s departure in 2005, the right-back was appointed as club captain, an accolade which he truly deserved. In February 2011, the England international (85 appearances for country) hung up his boots, having made 602 appearances for the Red Devils.
He is one of the very few one-club men in English football. In 2007, PFA announced Neville as one of the players in their ‘Team of the Century’ list. He won a staggering twenty trophies during his career.