Advertisement

Ben White snubbed as Kyle Walker finally settles Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold debate

Kyle Walker of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Etihad Stadium on May 4, 2024
-Credit: (Image: Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)


Kyle Walker has named Reece James the best right-back in the world, ahead of the likes of Ben White and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Despite missing a large chunk of the season due to injury, the Chelsea defender still managed to show glimpses of magic and drag his side up the Premier League table.

James suffered a hamstring problem at the start of the campaign, missing seven of the Blues' opening eight games. The 24-year-old was eventually reintroduced towards the end of October, captaining Chelsea to a 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur and a 4-4 draw against Manchester City.

Then, in December, James suffered a reoccurrence of his ongoing muscle issue. After some deliberation, the England international finally opted for surgery, hoping to rid himself of any more hamstring difficulties after missing a further five months.

He briefly returned towards the end of the season, providing a match-winning assist against Nottingham Forest before picking up a red card the following game, and yet Walker still named him as the best right-back in the world, excluding himself.

Speaking on his new podcast with the BBC, 'You'll Never Beat Kyle Walker', the Manchester City defender said: "Reece James. He’s just got everything. Everything. If I could make a complete right-back, it would be him. Defend, attack, technically, both-footed, dead-ball situations, quick."

In November 2021, James addressed his rivalry with Alexander-Arnold during an international break. The Blues captain: "When we're here, we're one tea. Our aim is to win, no matter who we're playing against.

READ MORE: Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham wage bill compared to Premier League rivals

READ MORE: When Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham will discover new Premier League fixture list

"So we have to put that aside and focus on our task here," James added. "It's not easy. We play most of our football for our clubs and we want to win wherever we are."

Then, on BT Sport before it rebranded to TNT Sport, Rio Ferdinand weighed in on the debate. The former Manchester United defender said: "I think based on the way that we’ve seen Trent Alexander Arnold’s lack of use, then Reece James looks to be in the driving seat right now.

"In terms of delivery and output they’re both of a high standard, huge ability in both of them - off both feet as well. They both have dimensions in their game which is great but Trent just has something about him in terms of his finesse and range.

"He’s a fabulous footballer but he’s just got the range likened to Steven Gerrard. I have to say, talking about the England right-back position, I think it’s a genuine argument for Reece James to play."