Who is better Ashley Cole or Leighton Baines?

The left back spot for England has been one of those positions that in the last 10 years nobody has questioned who should play there.

But in recent months in particular that has changed with the form of Leighton Baines who has arguably been the best left back in the country for a number of seasons now. However, the problem is he is behind Ashley Cole who even though he is now 32 is still one of the best and most consistent fullbacks in world football. This is the first time that Cole has faced serious competition since he became an England regular. There have been other players that have been included in England squads that can play in the position but to most people they weren’t good enough to replace Cole. By this I mean players like Wayne Bridge, Stephen Warnock, Nicky Shorey and more recently Kieran Gibbs. Two of these players, Bridge and Warnock now play in the Championship and unfortunately their careers have gone downhill very fast. Finally Leighton Baines is getting the credit he deserves and there is a very good chance he could become the top English left back.

I am certainly not writing off Ashley Cole but I think that after he has won hiss 100th cap he may struggle to pick up many more caps from the starting line up after his recent outbursts against the FA. However, Roy Hodgson may not care about this and keep him as first choice at least until after the next World Cup. Not that this would be a bad thing as he is still a fantastic player both going forward and defensively. He may not get many goals or assists but he always makes himself available and lets the player in front of him cut inside and this has no doubt let Eden Hazard and Juan Mata be more creative in the middle of the pitch. Nobody would be annoyed or be against Cole being England’s left back for a few more years yet.

Cole has 99 caps for England

Cole has 99 caps for England

However, if a change was to be made I don’t think anyone would be against Leighton Baines becoming England’s left back for the rest of qualifying and the next World Cup. The 28 year old has 13 caps so far and already has more goals than his rival for the position and if Hodgson wanted a different option for taking set pieces then Baines would be perfect to have on the pitch. This season he has six goals in 27 games and has been arguably one of the best players in the Premier League even though he may not get as many plaudits as he deserves. If he could replicate his partnership with someone at international level like he does at club level wit Steven Pienaar then it will be very profitable for England. His goal against West Brom just proved how clever he is and his composure on the ball is fantastic. Plus, he can also take penalties and everyone in the world knows how bad England are at them.

Baines scored against Moldova

Baines scored against Moldova


So who would you choose?

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Who will Leighton Baines play for next season?

Everton left back Leighton Baines is being linked with a move away from Goodison Park this summer but would a move be good for him?

Baines has eight caps for England

The 27 year old has been one of the best fullbacks in the Premier League for a number of years now and I am quite surprised he hasn’t been snapped up by one of the teams in the Champions League but this summer could finally be the time when he leaves Everton. He has played 202 games for the Merseyside club and scored 15 goals in his five years at the club which just shows how consistent he has been. Defensively he is rarely caught out even though he isn’t the quickest as his positioning and anticipation are both very good but it is offensively that he is at his best. He is able to put in quality crosses on a consistent basis and provides support for his winger. Baines is vital to the team because he provides a lot of the width with whoever plays on the left usually likes to cut inside which means he has to always be an option. I don’t think he should leave Everton because they are a good team with one of the best managers in the Premier League and they have been close to winning trophies in the last couple of years and I think they could finish in a European place next season.

But if he does decide to leave, I don’t think the Everton fans should be too upset and angry at him as the only clubs that he would realistically leave for will be in the Champions League year after year. So the reason he would leave would be ambition rather than for money reasons in my opinion. He is most heavily linked with Manchester United who at the moment will be unwilling to pay the fee that is being reported but may be forced to if they want their man. After letting Fabio join QPR on loan it is clear they do need another left back and Baines is one of the best around and they want to topple neighbours Manchester City next season so they will have to recruit the best. It would be a great move for the player himself and may give him more of a chance of becoming England’s first choice left back. However, will he want to play second fiddle to Patrice Evra and if he can’t get enough game time then this move will be a waste of time. The other possibility is that he is being brought into replace Evra who in my opinion hasn’t been at his best for a number of years now.

Another club that should be interested is Arsenal because they need strengthening at left back in my opinion with Kieran Gibbs still looking a little suspect when defending and Andre Santos not much better. He would certainly add more composure to the defence and give them a lot more stability over on the left hand side. Whether Arsene Wenger will be willing to pay over £10 million for him though is another question but with the possibility of him having extra funds because of the expected departure of Robin Van Persie he may want to strengthen his defence.