With Euro 2016 appearing on the horizon, the time for mass debate in public houses is upon us as the punting masses draw up their ideal England squads.
Certain selections are bound to feature unanimously, some are sure to cause a stir, while some players won’t even come under consideration.
Regarding the latter, this may be down to injury, poor form, inability or simply because media hypers don’t devote enough time blowing trumpets for them, which especially applies to West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell.
His status amongst the forgotten is epitomised by the fact he doesn’t even have odds attributed to make Roy Hodgson’s squad until today. The same cannot be said of Marcus Rashford, Micah Richards and Adam Johnson.
The left-back – rated 8/1 to be a part of Hodgson’s travelling party – continues to be overlooked for England recognition despite the fact that likely first-choice Luke Shaw is all but certain to miss the forthcoming Euros after suffering a bad leg break.
Popular preconception pits Leighton Baines and Ryan Bertrand in a two-way tussle to fill in for the stricken Manchester United defender, with Tottenham’s Danny Rose and Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs mentioned as potential alternatives.
This, theoretically, places Cresswell sixth in the pecking order for a left-back spot in Hodgson’s side, which, when considering the stats, is ridiculous.
Comparing all the viable Euro 2016 full-backs, left and right, the Hammers ace comes out on top in several key areas.
Shaw is omitted due to injury, while Gibbs is out on account of the fact that he is second choice at club level.
Cresswell is second only to Kyle Walker in terms of aerial duel success, winning 57.8% of the headers he has challenged for. With 54.3% of his tackles won, he’s better at dispossessing the opposition than Bertrand (52.5%) and Baines (38.1%).
Only right-backs Walker and Nathaniel Clyne have made more than his 112 possession recoveries, while the former is the only player to best his 54 interceptions. No one comes close to his 12 blocks.
On top of all this, none of his peers have played parts in keeping more clean sheets than Cresswell, who has featured in nine of West Ham’s this term.
It’s not just in a defensive capacity where he shines either.
Comparing him to the two left-backs who are likely to make the plane – Baines and Bertrand – Cresswell has completed more passes in the final third with 86.2%, has hit more successful crosses with 20 and he towers above his contemporaries for chances created with 31 (over Bertrand’s 13 and Baines’ 11).