Kyle Walker or Kieran Trippier? Who should get the nod for England?
Gareth Southgate has a welcome selection dilemma when deciding whether Kyle Walker or Kieran Trippier should start at right wing-back.
When discussing who takes which positions at the upcoming World Cup for England, there will be plenty of debate about players who should and shouldn't be taken on the plane to Russia.
Current boss Gareth Southgate has a selection headache, deciding who starts in the right wing-back position going forward. Both fullback spots are strong and command plenty of competition, but this is more so evident on the right with a straight battle between former club team-mates Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier.
Trippier's determination to improve
Last season saw both players fighting for a regular starting berth in Tottenham's impressive side - which benefitted both as Mauricio Pochettino's system is similar to the one adopted by England. Trippier's emergence has surprised many critics and the 27-year-old, who joined Manchester City's academy at the age of nine, continues to impress with consistent performances when called upon.
He was chosen over Walker to start their 0-0 draw against Germany on Friday evening and having earned plenty of Premier League experience under Pochettino's guidance, the £3m they spent on his services from Burnley looks a real bargain.
He has created a great understanding with the other English contingent within the Spurs side, as Dele Alli and Harry Kane have combined in the final third while Eric Dier continues to progress in a defensive-minded midfield position.
Trippier has worked considerably hard to earn a place at the top level now and you can see his improvements when compared with performances during time spent at Turf Moor.
City spend big, Walker justifying price
When Manchester City spent £50m to sign Walker this past summer, plenty of doubters were quick to scoff at the transfer fee. For a fullback no less, focus on his performances have been increasingly intense as many are unconvinced he's worth such a financial outlay.
Despite this though, Walker has adapted to life under Pep Guardiola's management very well and quickly too. The last two seasons have been important in helping propel his reputation as one of the league's best in his position, while physical attributes allow him to surpass counterparts with ease when compared.
Walker's pace and ability to provide width down the flanks are important to note, as it gives City the opportunity to add another dimension within their play. His decision-making continues to improve with experience too, which is never a bad thing either.
Both players would consider themselves unfortunate not to feature in next summer's World Cup, not least as this is the time where fullbacks of quality are held in such high regard and they're competing with one another.
Southgate has a big decision to make when it comes to the crunch fixtures as to who he'll select ahead of their competitor to start for England. Who will it be?
On current form for this calendar year, my answer would have to be Trippier. Having watched his display against Germany, he was unfortunate not to have earned the Man of the Match award, which is testament to how well Ruben Loftus-Cheek played at Wembley.
He has quietly but gradually begun showing leadership qualities in defence and is clearly aiming to take real responsibility on the pitch.
Walker's sheer pace gives him an edge over Trippier when comparing the two, but the latter is more accurate in the final third with both his crossing and set-piece ability deadly from short and long-range.
Defensively, both players are solid. Again though, Trippier edges Walker in terms of his ability to read the game quickly and how he's keen to contribute defensively - he supports central defenders more often and to better effect than Kyle.
Both are 27-years-old and currently reaching the peak years of their respective careers, but should he stay fit and remain consistent, Trippier deserves the nod.
It also seems too late for Liverpool's Nathaniel Clyne to earn the starting berth, as he has struggled with injuries recently and is still currently sidelined. Many would automatically select Walker but Trippier has been outstanding for Spurs and helped fill the void left by his compatriot this past summer.