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Wayne Bridge believes Luke Shaw deserves to start ahead of Ben Chilwell in England's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.
Bridge was capped 36 times by the Three Lions between 2002 and 2009, where he was often understudy to Ashley Cole at left-back.
That role in the team is one of the many that is under close scrutiny this summer, due to the skillset and individual form of both Manchester United star Shaw and Chelsea ’s Chilwell.
The two players have enjoyed extremely strong seasons at club level, and both have strong cases for earning a starting spot for Gareth Southgate’s side in the upcoming competition.
Luke Shaw has responded in style this season to the threat to his place from Alex Telles
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
Chilwell joined Chelsea from Leicester City a year ago in a landmark £45million deal and has enjoyed a strong debut campaign at Stamford Bridge.
The 24-year-old – who has been capped 14 times by his nation – scored four goals across 42 appearances for the Blues this season and memorably helped them to win this year’s Champions League title.
However, Shaw – who will celebrate his 26th birthday a day after this year’s Euro final – has enjoyed a sterling season with United, seeing a marked upturn in personal form.
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The former Southampton star’s attacking output was greatly improved in the most recent campaign – providing six direct goal assists across the Premier League and European competition, having previously made just eight assists in total in his previous six campaigns at Old Trafford.
Much of the pre-tournament debate on England has focused on which player is likely to start at right back for the Three Lions – with Kyle Walker, Reece James and Kieran Trippier all in the reckoning after Trent Alexander-Arnold pulled out through injury.
But the other full-back slot is also very much up for grabs.
Who should start at left back for England? Comment below
However, Bridge explained to BettingExpert.com that Shaw merited a starting role for Southgate’ side.
“Luke Shaw is brilliant defensively, powerful going forward and deserves to start at Euros," he said.
“I’d go with Luke Shaw. Don't get me wrong, Chilwell has done very well since he’s come into Chelsea. But for me Shaw’s just been consistently excellent for all season, so it’s hard to look past him for that starting berth.
“I’m buzzing for them both to be in there and it's a great problem to have – but I just think Shaw has been so brilliant.
“One game stands out for me this year – I was sitting with my friends watching and one of them is a Liverpool fan. He was moaning because Mo Salah wasn’t running at Shaw with the ball when he got one on one with him.
“And I said ‘because he just can’t beat him. He’s tried once or twice, he cannot beat him, Shaw is standing too strong’.
“He’s been a rock defensively, he can be powerful going forward, so for me Shaw starts.”
Bridge amassed over 500 appearances at club and international level over a career spanning 16 seasons, including stints at Southampton, Chelsea and Manchester City.