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Greatest Premier League Right-Back

Updated on May 20, 2013

So here is my choice of Greatest Premier League Right-Backs. I will again give a few mentions of players and why I didn't include them in my list. First of all Rafael, who in my mind is one of the up and coming talents. In a few years I'm sure he will make this list, but again he is too young, and has not proven himself over an extended period.


Jeff Kenna and Gary Kelly also miss out, though it was a close call. I feel Kenna was not around the top long enough, and descended down the Leagues toward the end of his career. Gary Kelly too was a solid player in a very good Leeds team, but again he was also part of a self-destructive Leeds team, which for me has tarnished him slightly.

Again, if you disagree or have other players you would care to mention, then please do so, as what is football without disagreement.

Gary Neville
Gary Neville

Gary Neville

Gary Alexander Neville joined Manchester United in 1991, and captained the youth team to F.A. Youth Cup glory in his first season. The next year he made his first team debut against Torpedo Moscow in the UEFA Cup. This was to be his only first team appearance that season.

The next season he made two appearances, including his league debut. Then in the 1994-1995 season he made 18 league appearances as he became a regular choice in front of the injured Paul Parker, though he did sometimes find himself pushed out as Ferguson decided to play Lee Sharp as left-back, and play Denis Irwin on the right.

It was around this time that Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Paul Scholes were making a huge impact in the Manchester United team. Gary Neville and David Beckham formed a useful partnership down the right hand side, supplying assists and goals for the team, though it has to be said that Neville provided many more assists than goals. Neville remained first-choice full back for the rest of his Manchester United career, and with the departure of Roy Keane in 2005, he took up the captaincy of the squad.

Neville was part of the treble winning side of the 1998-1999 season, which saw success on all fronts for Manchester United and also saw Neville named in the PFA team of the season for the third year running. He was to later miss out on a Champions League final glory in 2008 due to injury.

In his career he won many titles, including 8 Premier League titles, 3 F.A. Cups, 2 League Cups, 3 Charity Shields, 2 Champions Leagues,1 Fifa World Club Cup and 1 Intercontinental Cup. He is also Englands most capped right back, winning 85 caps but he never managed to score an international goal. This gives him the unenviable record of being the most capped England player to have never scored for his country.

Neville announced his retirement from football in February 2011, after a few below par performances, he said he knew the time was right for him to step down. Neville made 602 appearances for Manchester United, scoring a total of 7 goals in all competitions.

Glen Johnson

Glen McLeod Cooper Johnson started his career at West Ham United after he signed a three year contract just before his 16th birthday in 2000. He made regular reserve team appearances, before being loaned to Milwall in 2002. He made 8 Championship appearances before finally breaking into the West Ham first team. He became a regular in his first season, making 15 appearances towards the end of the season, though he could do nothing to help the club avoid relegation.

Though he had recently signed a 4 year contact extension at West Ham he moved to Chelsea for £6 million in July 2003. He was the first purchase of the 'Abramovich Era'. Johnson spent four years at Chelsea, though was never more than a squad player, with Ferreira and Geremi being preferred in his position. He made 63 appearances in all competitions in his first two seasons, but then made only one league start during his third. In his final full season he went on loan to Portsmouth, where he made the right-back spot his own, making 29 league appearances.

At the start of the 2007-2008 season he made the move permanent, for a fee of around £4 million. He again fitted into the right-back position, making 54 league appearances over the next two seasons, scoring 6 goals along the way.

In 2009 he moved from Portsmouth to Liverpool for a fee of around £10 million, though this was a reduced fee due to Portsmouth owing £7 million to Liverpool for the purchase of Peter Crouch in 2008. He once again stepped into the role of right-back, and has been regular first choice for Liverpool since he signed.

In all Johnson has made over 250 league appearances for his various clubs, scoring 14 goals along the way, some more spectacular than others. He has won 2 Premier League titles and a League Cup with Chelsea, an F.A. Cup with Portsmouth and another League Cup with Liverpool. He has also been holding down a regular spot in the England team, with 47 caps and a goal to his name so far.

Glen is very much a modern day full-back, full of running, with a fierce tackle and a deft touch. He can attack as well as defend, and has a very good cross and shot in his locker. He will undoubtedly add to his England caps, and possibly to his own medal collection.

Dan Petrescu

Dan Vasile Petrescu started his playing career in 1986, playing a first team game for Steaua Bucharest after a short spell in the youth team. He spent the 1986-1987 season on loan at FC Olt before asking to return to Steaua. He made 95 league appearances for Steaua before moving to Italy, to play for Foggia and then Genoa between 1991 and 1994.

After a successful World Cup in 1994, Petrescu moved to Sheffield Wednesday. He stayed for only one season before Chelsea snapped him up in 1995. During the next five years he proved himself a more than suitable right-back, winning the F.A. Cup, the League Cup and the Cup Winners Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.

After a falling out with then Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli, Petrescu found himself on the out of the picture, not even being named in the squad for the 2000 F.A. Cup final against Aston Villa. In the summer of 2000 he turned down a move to Southampton in favour of moving to Bradford City.

He made 17 appearances for Bradford, scoring once, during the 2000-2001 season. The next season Southampton finally managed to persuade him to sign up under Glenn Hoddle. He settled well at first, scoring twice in 11 appearances. Glenn Hoddle then left Southampton to manage Tottenham Hotspurs, and his replacement Staurt Gray dropped him from the squad. He made only 2 more substitute appearances that season, and moved back to Romania for one final season before retiring.

Dan Petrescu made 215 Premier League appearances, scoring 21 goals. He made 95 appearances for his country, scoring 12 goals. Undoubtedly one of Romania's greatest footballing exports, he scored in two World Cups, and played in four major tournaments for them. He is currently manager of Dynamo Moscow, after having Won the Russian First Division with Kuban Krasnodar.

Lee Dixon

Lee Michael Dixon started his career at Burnley, joining them in 1980, and signing pro in 1982. He made only 4 first team appearances before moving to Chester City in 1984. At Chester he was part o a team which finished bottom of the entire English League. He then moved to Bury and then later to Stoke where he made a big enough impact for Arsenal to come knocking at the door.

He joined Arsenal in January 1988 for £375,000. Although highly regarded it took some time before he got a real chance to cement a place at Arsenal, with both Kenny Sansom and Nigel Winterburn as competition. He made only 6 appearances in his first season, but during his second season he was given the number 2 shirt, with Winterburn making the left-back position his own and Kenny Sansom being left on the sidelines. Sansom moved from Arsenal in the winter of 1988.

In his first full season, 1988-1989, Arsenal won the First Division Title, with Dixon forming part of a formidable back-line for Arsenal. With Winterburn, Adams, O'Leary, Bould and Dixon often playing as a back five, Arsenal had the makings of a defensive team that would remain almost unchanged for the next decade, with only O'Leary being replaced by Martin Keown.

With the addition of David Seaman in 1990, Arsenal had a back 5 that was solid, well routined and formidable. With this solid foundation, Arsenal won the 1990-1991 First Division Title, losing only one game all season. In 1993 Dixon won both the F.A. Cup and League Cup, though he missed the League Cup final through suspension.

In 1993-1994 season, Arsenal added a European trophy to their silverware, Winning the Cup Winners Cup against a Parma side which included Faustino Asprilla, Thomas Brolin and Gianfranco Zola. Dixon and the rest of the Arsenal defense managed to shut them out, with Arsenal winning 1-0 in Copenhagen. They reached the final again the next season, but a memorable goal from ex-Spurs played Nayim in extra-time earned a victory for Real Zaragoza.

In 1996 Arsene Wenger took charge at Arsenal, bringing in new diet and fitness regimes. Two years later Dixon was part of the team which did the second 'Double' in the clubs history. The following year Dixon received a testimonial for reaching his tenth year at Arsenal.

At the age of 38 Dixon decided to retire from football, winning another 'Double' with Arsenal in his final season of 2001-2002. This made him one of very few people to have won the top English league Title in three separate decades. It was also a third double of Arsenals history.

Dixon made only 22 England appearances, playing second fiddle to Kenny Sansom, and later to Gary Neville, though he did manage to hit the back of the net for his country in a Euro '92 qualifier at Wembley against the Republic of Ireland. Altogether he made 305 Premier League appearances and a further 153 top flight appearances in the 'old First Division' for Arsenal, scoring 9 Premier League and 15 Division One goals along the way. Probably best remembered as part of 'that' Arsenal defense, he was both solid at the back and fantastic pushing forward. Unlucky at international level, he won every major domestic honour at Arsenal and is one of the Highbury legends.

Stephen Carr

Stephen Carr was born in Dublin, and at the age of 15 was sent for trail at Tottenham Hotspurs, where manager Ossie Ardiles signed him up. He had two years of youth team football before making his first team debut in 1993. However, he then had to wait until 1996 until he made another league appearance. He did manage to establish himself in the 1996-1997 season, making 26 league appearances.

Carr picked up a League Cup winners medal in 1999, with Tottenham beating Leicester City 1-0. The next season was one his best performance wise, most memorably he scored a thunderbolt strike against Manchester United

His reputation grew during the 2000-2001 season, and big named clubs began paying attention. Unfortunately for Carr a knee problem saw him needing surgery which saw him miss the entire 2001-2002 season, and the 2002 World Cup. In 2002-2003 Carr returned to fitness, and started showing the form that he had in previous years. Manchester United seemed to be interested in him, but it was Newcastle who signed him in 2004 for £2 million.

In 2004-2005 Carr played 26 times for Newcastle, but the following season he missed two months with a persistent knee injury, playing only 19 league games all season. Over the next 2 season Carr made only 33 appearances due to both injury ad the arrival of Habib Beye and Geremi. In 2006 Newcastle decided not to extend his contract and he announced his retirement from all forms of football.

He began training with Birmingham City in February 2009 with a view to coming out of retirement, eventually signing a contract with Birmingham in the same month, though it only tied him down for a month. After impressing during his first month, the contract was extended for the rest of the season. He helped Birmingham to promotion and was rewarded with a two-year contract.

In the next season he was part of a Birmigham team that went 12 league games unbeaten, a club record. In the 2010-2011 season Car played every league game for Birmingham in a season that saw them both relegated, and victorious in the League Cup, a game which Carr was made captain. Over the last two seasons Carr has made just 20 appearances due to injury, none at all in the 2012-2013 season. He has announced his retirement from football, and has turned down a chance to become a coach a Birmingham opting instead to move his family to Spain where he has business interests.

Carr also made 44 international appearances, but never managed to score for Ireland. He made a total of 377 Premier League appearances, scoring 8 goals. Hampered by injury throughout his career, he never really fulfilled his potential. If fitter then a move to a bigger club seemed to beckon for this talented Irishman, though he did manage to collect two League Cup medals, and an Intertoto Cup winners medal for his collection, he was unfortunate to miss out on the 2002 World Cup. A PFA team of the year member twice, he was a solid defender with a venomous shot.

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