England wing-back Reece James had “everything” during his side’s 5-0 win over Albania and showed why he is ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold in the international frame, former international striker Ian Wright has said.
England all-but secured their qualification for the Qatar 2022 World Cup as Harry Kane scored a first-half hat-trick in a comfortable victory at Wembley on Friday.
Kane was one of a number of England players who came into the match having had a tough run of form for their club sides in recent weeks, along with Harry Maguire and Raheem Sterling.
But James, who is Chelsea’s top-scorer in the Premier League this season, is one of Southgate’s squad to have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign and the 21-year-old continued his good form with a commanding performance at right wing-back.
“He’s keeping someone like Trent Alexander-Arnold out, who is a fantastic player himself,” Wright told ITV Sport. “He’s got everything. His delivery is amazing, his closing down. He’s got the ability and strength to progress the ball, he’s so combative. He’s a super player.”
James played just one of England’s seven matches during the Euros this summer, with Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker filling the right-back berths, with Alexander-Arnold injured.
“Coming into a stage like this in a season, if you get a chance you’ve got to take it,” agreed Jermain Defoe.
“He was fantastic tonight. I liked him coming inside so Phil Foden could go outside, having that freedom to rotate. He was really good in those areas, being able to drive.”
Roy Keane added: “He’s such a powerful lad and you think, if he’s got half a brain, he’s got so much more potential. He’s playing for a big club, challenging for trophies, he’s going to kick on and get much better.”
England will confirm their position as group winners if they avoid defeat to San Marino on Monday, a formality as their upcoming opponents are the lowest-ranked nation in Europe.
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