Kyle Walker’s England World Cup place not particularly secure 0

We’re close enough to the World Cup now for various squad-selector tools to be available and for the first journalists to have already picked their preferred twenty-three for the tournament.

What’s interesting is that almost every ‘squad’ I’ve seen to-date has both Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker going to Brazil.

For all intents and purposes, Johnson and Walker are the same player: both are more comfortable going forward, both are periodic liabilities in their own half. Consensus, though, seems to be that Johnson is Roy Hodgson’s first-choice option at right-back, and that surely leaves Walker at risk of not making the trip at all.

The trending topic at the moment is on the other side of the pitch, and concerns the battle between Luke Shaw and Ashley Cole for the second left-back berth. Hodgson will take two in that position, but only because he would have no cover in that area at all otherwise - the same, though, isn’t true on the right.

While Walker may well be a Johnson clone, right-back cover exists in the squad without him - both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will likely make the World Cup as centre-backs but could also replace Johnson in case of injury. Neither are Walker’s equal at full-back, but they would only be auxiliary options anyway.

The obvious point to make, then, is surely the squad would be incrementally more dexterous if Walker’s place was given to an additional midfielder or an extra forward? Why carry a player who duplicates what already exists, especially if it’s at the expense of taking a Ross Barkley or Jay Rodriguez-type?

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