EPL

Chilwell: Battle with Shaw good for England

By Sports Desk March 23, 2021

Ben Chilwell believes the competition between himself and Luke Shaw to be England's first choice on the left-hand side of defence can only benefit Gareth Southgate's team.

Southgate named right-back Kieran Tripper at left wing-back earlier this season as Chilwell worked his way back to form following a foot injury.

If that suggested a dearth of options, the pieces now appear to be falling into place ahead of the rescheduled Euro 2020 for the Three Lions.

Chilwell has settled into life at Chelsea and is thriving under Thomas Tuchel, while Shaw has arguably been Manchester United's most consistent performer this term, putting years of injury torment behind him.

"At Chelsea you've got two or three good players in each position and at England you should expect the same thing," said the former Leicester City player.

"Going into the Euros, if me and Luke are battling it out and trying to prove who's having the best club form going into the tournament, that's only a positive.

"That means if everybody in each position's doing that, going into the tournament everyone should be sharp and ready to play and confident.

"Then whoever plays is ready and that's important."

Chilwell believes it could be advantageous for himself and club colleague Reece James if Southgate sticks with the 3-4-3 setup he used during the recent Nations League campaign, given Tuchel has employed the system to fine effect at Stamford Bridge

"We've spoken about that, me and Reece particularly, because it affects us the most," he said ahead of England's triple-header of World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

"If you look at the formation England are playing, the formation we're playing here at the moment gives us the best possible chance to get used to playing in the positions that England want us to play in.

"Hopefully that gives us a good chance going into the summer – that we can be used."

Shaw generally operates as a more conventional full-back at United, even though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has periodically reverted to a back five for big games.

Nevertheless, that has done little to quell his attacking output.

The former Southampton youngster's 52 chances created in the Premier League this season, more than any other defender in England's top flight and far in excess of Chilwell's 21.

Shaw has five assists to Chilwell's four, with his solitary goal in the recent Manchester derby victory set against two for the Chelsea man.

Chilwell (79) has attempted more crosses than Shaw (67) but fewer have been successful – 11 compared to 18.

Shaw has attempted 39 dribbles and his 21 completed are two more than Chilwell has attempted overall.

In terms of tackles and interceptions, they are fairly evenly matched, with Shaw up 36-32 on the former metric, while the latter falls 19-15 in Chilwell's favour.

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