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Castrol Debate: Paul Konchesky Is The Answer To Fabio Capello's Woes At Left-Back For England

Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge have hit the headlines - front page and back - this past month, but the void they have left in Fabio Capello's England team should be filled by someone with a much lower public profile - Fulham's Paul Konchesky.

That is the revealing take from the February 2010 Castrol Rankings, announced today.

Castrol have applied the same expertise they apply to the development of their oils to create the Castrol Rankings - using objective analysis and highly advanced technology to measure every pass, every tackle and every single move of over 2000 players in games from Europe's top five leagues over the last 12 months.
 
This month's Castrol Rankings show Fulham defender Konchesky has risen nine places to 378, while Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock and Everton's Leighton Baines - the other main contenders for a place in England's squad for World Cup 2010 - are at 419th and 420th, respectively.
 
England coach Fabio Capello is looking for cover at left-back ahead of the World Cup Finals in South Africa, following a broken ankle for Chelsea's Cole and Manchester City's Bridge announcing his retirement from international football.
 
Konchesky's defensive qualities are underlined by an outstanding tackle success rate of 84 per cent, significantly better than his rivals for the position. In contrast, Baines' strength is going forward and delivering crosses into the penalty box. This is reflected by the fact that the Everton man has delivered 310 crosses for David Moyes' side.
 
Warnock, meanwhile, has performed well defensively, making 16 blocks and making 69 clearances over the last 12 months.
 
Each player has his strengths and weaknesses, but Castrol Rankings indicate that Konchesky has performed at a higher level over the last year than Baines or Warnock.
 
The table below details the performance of English left-backs over the last 12 months.


PLAYER

Team
Appearances
Mins on pitch
Goals
Shots on targ.
Shots off targ.
Goal assists
Total passes
Pass comp. %
Total crosses
Cross comp.%
Tackles made
Tackles won %
Blocks
Clearances
Interceptions

ASHLEY COLE

Chelsea
33
2860
4
8
7
3
1450
88.62%
79
21.52%
96
73.96%
11
105
72
WAYNE BRIDGE

Man City
28
2389
0
3
2
0
1213
74.69%
64
6.25%
55
67.27%
7
116
70
LEIGHTON BAINES

Everton
38
3420
2
11
5
8
1531
74.46%
310
20.32%
79
67.09%
8
144
83
PAUL KONCHESKY

Fulham
33
2898
1
5
4
1
1452
74.59%
117
26.50%
57
84.21%
7
95
62
STEPHEN WARNOCK

Villa/B'burn
32
2819
1
6
11
2
1145
72%
100
25%
80
80%
16
126
69


Injury ruled Konchesky out of the recent friendly with Egypt at Wembley, a game which saw Baines given the chance to stake his claim, but Konchesky has returned to full fitness for Fulham, featuring in their recent FA Cup quarter-final squad against Tottenham Hotspur.
 
Castrol Ambassador and former England captain Alan Shearer said: "The full-back is an important outlet in international football, where central areas can often get congested. There is no better exponent of the role than Ashley Cole, however his long term fitness is a concern following his recent injury.

"Fabio Capello is fortunate England have such depth in this position and ultimately he will make a decision based on how he sets his team up going forward.
 
"There is time for each player to make an impression in the final weeks of the season and this is likely to be one of the positions Capello picks on form and not reputation."
 
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Fernando Torres is the top-ranked Premier League player in the Castrol Rankings and sits third behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
 
The Spaniard has netted 20 goals in 29 Premier League and Champions League starts over the last 12 months, and marked his return to fitness with the winner against Blackburn Rovers at the end of last month in his first league start of 2010.
 
Closing in on Torres are Chelsea's Didier Drogba, up two places to 6th, and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney who has risen one place to 8th.
 
West Ham United goalkeeper Rob Green showed why he is emerging as the favourite to take the No.1 spot when England head to South Africa. Green has moved up 78 places to 119th after helping his side move away from the relegation zone by keeping two clean sheets and making 10 saves in four games last month.
 
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe, up two places to 16th, is the second highest ranked England player behind Rooney, followed by Chelsea's Frank Lampard who drops one to 21st.

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