Cesar Azpilicueta is the 'best defender in the Premier League' - Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher praise Chelsea full-back

Pundits agreed the Spaniard is the stand-out in the top flight

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The Independent Online

Former Premier League defenders Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have named Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta as the best defender in England.

The pair, who have 908 Premier League appearances between them, both agreed that the Spanish defender was the best in the top flight, purely in terms of his ability as a defender; attacking talents were not factored into their decision.

Speaking on Monday Night Football, Neville said the 25-year-old was as "near to perfect" as possible.

“I’d say, for consistency of performances, it would be one of the Chelsea lads – and I’d probably say Azpilicueta,” said Neville.

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Neville and Carragher named all of the Chelsea defenders among the best

“For technical defending, not making a mistake, not being in the wrong position, not getting caught out… I don’t see him making a mistake. And I have to say the Chelsea defenders aren’t far behind him; Gary Cahill, John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic.

“But Azpilicueta, when I watch him, he’s as near to perfect as possible when it comes to defending; he’s immaculate.”

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea currently have the second-best defensive record in the division, trailing only Southampton, though the Blues have kept just three clean sheets in their 10 matches.

Southampton, flying high in second place have so far conceded only five goals in their 10 matches, though the two times they have played teams that finished above them last season, against Liverpool and Spurs, have brought two defeats.

On Azpilicueta, Carragher said: “I totally agree. I think those Chelsea players, all of them, they defend properly.

“We see that in terms of the number of goals they’ve conceded, the clean sheets they keep.

“Azpilicueta is an out-and-out defender. You very rarely see anybody get the better of him. He’d be my number one.”

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