Nathaniel Clyne is Roy Hodgson's 11th right-back in 37 games... but he might be the best

Southampton man looked extremely impressive against Slovenia and Scotland

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The Independent Football

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.

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.

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Calum Chambers looks like the only player who could challenge Clyne

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.

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.

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Clyne has played every minute in the Premier League this season

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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