Following Nathaniel Clyne’s successful second appearance in an England shirt, Roy Hodgson may have finally solved the problem of a desirable English right-back.
Hodgson has used 11 different players in the position in the 37 games he has taken charge of; yet none have looked as comfortable in their position as the Southampton man.
Clyne was once again superb in defence at Celtic Park as well as causing an attacking threat. He is a natural right-back and you can see he’s developed his trade over time.
Glen Johnson’s time is up; Hodgson needs to let the next generation of players flourish in their accustomed positions. He shouldn’t be a player that Hodgson tries out in several different positions. The right side of the pitch is Clyne’s home.
Scotland 1 England 3 player ratings
Scotland 1 England 3 player ratings
1/22 David Marshall
Survived an early fumble from a Danny Welbeck shot but there was little he could do about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's header. 6
2/22 Steven Whittaker
Had a couple of shots blocked following short set-pieces, the right-back got little joy going forward in the second half but was dependable at the back. 6
3/22 Grant Hanley
The Blackburn centre-back's lack of mobility told at times. 5
4/22 Russell Martin
Came close with a header but found it difficult to cope with England's movement up front. 5
5/22 Andrew Robertson
Lost the first goalscorer and inadvertently set up the second but showed his character with an excellent first goal for Scotland. 5
Distribution was not as accurate as his man-of-the-match display on Friday and his misplaced pass and crude block on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ultimately led to England's second goal. 5
7/22 Scott Brown
Withdrawn at half-time after a decent if uninspiring display. 5
8/22 Ikechi Anya
Lifted the home crowd with a couple of early runs but could not make a telling contribution. 6
9/22 Steven Naismith
Was out on his feet at the end of Friday's win over the Republic of Ireland and lacked a spark both up top and just off the front. 6
10/22 Shaun Maloney
Was well off target when given a chance to shoot late in the first half, although from much further out than his goal against the Irish. Otherwise failed to threaten. 5
11/22 Chris Martin
Held the ball up well at times but was unable to make a major impact and rarely had the ball with his face to goal during his 45-minute run-out. 5
12/22 Fraser Forster
The former Celtic goalkeeper's defence allowed him one of his quieter 45 minutes at Parkhead but was exposed for Robertson's goal. 6
13/22 Nathaniel Clyne
The Southampton right back's well-timed tackles and ability to break quickly gave England an edge down his flank. 8
14/22 Luke Shaw
Dealt well with the threat of Shaun Maloney. 6
15/22 Gary Cahill
Came close from an early header and marshalled Martin well in the first half. 7
16/22 Chris Smalling
Totally comfortable in central defence and showed his confidence as the game progressed. 8
17/22 James Milner
A disciplined display in the anchor role. 7
18/22 Jack Wilshere
Floated an inch-perfect cross over the top of the Scotland defence to set up the opener and had a hand in both other goals, the Arsenal midfielder imposed himself on the game. 8
19/22 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Drifted into the goalmouth to head the opener. 6
20/22 Stewart Downing
Showed enterprise and control in central midfield. 7
21/22 Danny Welbeck
Caused some problems going forward in the early stages and put in a power of work to disrupt Scotland further back. 7
22/22 Wayne Rooney
Overtook Jimmy Greaves in the England scoring stakes with his 45 and 46th international goals. The skipper showed hunger and drive as he led from the front. 9
Johnson has made far too many clumsy mistakes for his club of late and he doesn’t look solid enough defensively. Hodgson has experimented with multiple guinea pigs in the position during his reign, with the likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones playing there.
Calum Chambers has the strongest case to start at right-back ahead of Clyne, but if he is settled, having taken his opportunity with both feet, why change things?
In a somewhat heated affair with some big tackles flying in, a defender could well easily have been carded but Clyne, who has never been sent off in his career, remained ever-professional and focused on the job in hand.
Up against Ikechi Anya for most of the game, the pair were fairly evenly matched for pace but Clyne managed to keep the Watford winger at bay most of the night. He is also only 23, not close to his peak yet.
His reading of the game is impeccable and his technical ability is pin-point. His attacking game has developed whilst being at Southampton; Clyne is always looking for one-two’s down the wing to provide a cross to his team-mates, as he proved by combining with Wayne Rooney and James Milner several times against Scotland.
The only downside to his game is perhaps his heading ability and strength, but at 5ft 9in it’s to be expected. What he lacks in physical presence he more than makes up for in tactical awareness.
“I’m delighted to play in a game like that it was a fantastic win. It’s been a great experience and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Clyne tweeted after the game.
Former England striker Gary Lineker also took to Twitter to praise the defender’s performance.
Another very good performance from Nathaniel Clyne. I think England has its right-back.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 18, 2014
Clyne has played all 990 minutes of Southampton’s Premier League campaign so far and has scored two goals this season, including that 30-yard screamer to knock Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup. Sadly, it took a goal of that magnitude to get Hodgson to sit up and take note of his potential.
The right-back is one of only a few players, alongside the likes of Stewart Downing and Saido Berahino, to be selected in this squad on recent form and not the club they play for.
Clyne started out in south east London having graduated through Crystal Palace’s youth academy where he found himself a regular first-team place at the age of 17. Four successful seasons at Palace saw him pick up their Player of the Year award and be voted into the Championship Team of the Year in 2012.
During his time with the Eagles, Clyne attracted interest from Wolves, then in the Premier League, and Manchester United but the Londoner stayed with the club, even through the difficult times of going into administration.
A mistake that has seen so many other young players rush into the Premier League with the attraction of making more money and then never really making it - a decision far from Clyne’s mind. Establishing himself in the Championship before making a career changing move to Southampton is one he can be proud of.
Now he's on the verge of becoming England’s future right-back.
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