In a previous article (All the right defenders but not necessarily in the right order?) I briefly touched on the shortcomings of Aaron Lennon. It does not please me to list these and I wish it were not like this, but the issues are as follows.

•    Inability or unwillingness to take corners and free kicks (or following orders – but who would give such orders and why?).

o    Wasting taller front men at the corner post. They need to be in the box and Lennon should be delivering the corners.

o    Wasting players who should be in the box but are instead taking free kicks that Lennon should be able to take.

•    Seeming inability to produce final product, with some (sometimes) lovely play resulting in nothing, or worse, resulting in dangerous counter attacks.

•    Relative inability to cope with the rough stuff.

What are the alternatives? Chadli, Lamela and Sigurdsson could be suggested. I propose something very different: Kyle Walker. ‘What madness is this?’ I hear you cry.

Before I go on to try to defend my sanity, let’s get to the title of this article. The issues of strikers and left backs and even centre backs have been discussed many times. There is relatively little discussed about the right back position. Is that because all is well? I think not. Walker is a decent enough right back, though he has faults, but which of them doesn’t? I am pretty happy with him but I there may be arguments against, which would make matters even worse. Walker has made some serious errors of judgement that have lead to goals but these are not frequent. Leaving that aside for now, if Walker were injured what alternatives are available? Kyle Naughton seems to be the obvious choice but would he be your first choice as right back? Is he PL standard for game after game? I would suggest not. We do not have proper cover for the right back position.

Moving on, I am going to argue the case that Walker would make a better winger than Lennon. We have seen a previous left back become a winger and do ok, and no one would have predicted that finished product (actually I did … honestly …). Why not see if we can do something similar on the other side of the pitch?

Stats come from Squawka.

Walker has an overall Performance Score of 358 over 23 games. This includes three significantly negative scores, one for the 6-0 defeat at MC, one for the home game against MU, which saw Walker fail to control the ball that resulted in a Rooney goal, and one for the 5-1 defeat at home to MC. The two MC games saw poor overall team performances and Walker’s negative scores for those games should be considered in that light. Also, in the MU game Walker scored one of our two goals. Lennon has an overall Performance Score of 213 over 15 games. The following tables show comparisons of the two players.

Table 1: Average Performance Scores
















Table 2: Goals and Passes



Total Chances Created

Average Pass Accuracy

Average Defensive Actions











So what do these stats show? Very simply, Walker is a better player overall than Lennon and if Walker were relieved of his right back duties to play right wing, he would be a better option than Lennon.  He would easily double his chance rate and he would get on the score sheet regularly. He would deliver that final ball, take corners, take free kicks and shrug off the rough stuff. He has created 1.2 chances per game against Lennon’s 1.6, but Walker has been defending. Walker would also be much more willing and able than Lennon to track back.

By the way, to enable this to be considered as part of a bigger picture, Dembele has an average overall performance score per game of 30.2, Nani scores 2.4 per game, Valencia 6.55 per game and Navas 29 per game.

Walker would have to learn that he cannot do everything and would need to rely on the player behind him, which brings me to the point. Let’s suppose for a crazy moment that you buy into my madness. Who would replace Walker at right back?

For the immediate future, I hope Lennon plays on Sunday, scores a hat trick (or provides the passes for Soldado to grab one) and forces me to eat my words. I honestly would be delighted.


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