5 of the best left-backs in world football (1997-2017)
The left fullback position is one that is ridiculously hard to fill from a management perspective. For starters only about one in five players (20%) favour using their left foot over their right.
Also, they have to be disciplined enough to play in defence so it’s only a tiny number of a very small group of players that can play left back.
Given this background, it becomes appropriate to pay homage to five of the very best players in this most crucial of positions who have been active within the last two decades (1997-2017).
The players on this list have combined have a staggering eleven Champions League winners medals between them, mindblowing thirty-one league titles, 568 international caps and many more honours.
#5 Ashley Cole (England)
Clubs: Arsenal, Crystal Palace (Loan), Chelsea, AS Roma, LA Galaxy
Never a player far away from controversy in one form or another, Ashley Cole made the England left-back position his own in the years he represented his country.
He began at Arsenal and was an integral part of the Invincibles side that won the 03/04 Premier League title with great ease.
He also won the FA Cup thrice with the North London side and then after seven years with the club he decided to depart and join fierce London rivals Chelsea in what was the first transfer in which the whole ‘tapping up’ thing was especially prevalent.
International Caps: 107 | Honours: Premier League x3, FA Cup x7, League Cup, Community Shield x3, Champions League, Europa League.
His success continued at Stamford Bridge where he won everything possible in the domestic game, albeit, he will be slightly disappointed that he only added one more Premier League winners medal to the two he won at Arsenal.
One of the highlights of his career will be that he scored a decisive penalty in the shootout in the Champions League final versus Bayern Munich in 2012.
In his last season at Chelsea, he found himself second choice to Azpilicueta and played a lot less than he had done in the seasons that preceded it, but in a touch of class, he was made captain in his last game for Chelsea before he was released at the end of his contract in 2014.
Internationally, he was part of the so-called "Golden Generation" that was a lot of things other than golden. He played alongside Beckham, Owen, Lampard, Gerrard and more.
An awful lot was expected of the England side going into the 2004 European Championships and the 2006 World Cup, however, on both occasions they were knocked out in the Quarter Finals to Portugal, a major disappointment for England.
Cole sits sixth on the ‘Caps Won’ for England list, one ahead of Bobby Charlton and one behind Bobby Moore, a feat that he can be incredibly proud of and his only disappointment in what was a career filled with more winners medals than you can count, would be that he didn’t get any silverware internationally.