Opinion: Aaron Cresswell should be an option for Gareth Southgate
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Aaron Cresswell has been one of many standout players this season for West Ham United. With the Euros approaching in the Summer, is the left-back a possible option for Gareth Southgate and his England team?

The England manager is announcing his next squad on the March 18th, so could the West Ham defender be amongst those who are chosen?

Cresswell has so far received three international caps with the England squad, being called-up on the November 7th 2016. He made his debut on 15 November, replacing Danny Rose in a 2–2 draw with Spain at Wembley Stadium

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However, with his performances not reaching the level required to be selected for the squad in the following seasons, the left-back has not been considered.

On the other hand, Cresswell has played many superb games this season and could be in-line for a recall. 

Southgate's Options

In his tenure as the manager of England, Southgate has called-up five recognised left-backs; Danny Rose, Ben Chilwell, Aaron Cresswell, Luke Shaw and Ryan Bertrand

The 50-year-old is known for handing out caps based on merit, for player's good performances throughout the season, which could lead to being a major factor when he picks his squad next Thursday. 

Despite Rose featuring 21 times under Southgate, the defender has not played a single minute of football for Tottenham Hotspur this season. In fact, Rose does not even have a recognised shirt number in Spurs' squad. It's all but confirmed that Rose will not be selected for the upcoming games for England. 

Chilwell had a great start to the season following his move from Leicester City, but since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel, the left-back has not been starting as many games.

However, in the 21 games he has featured, Chilwell has only conceded 18 goals. Compared to the other left-backs that Southgate has selected, the Chelsea defender has the best long passing accuracy percentage but has the lowest  crossing accuracy of 18.45% (according to Squawka.com). 

Into his seventh season at Manchester United, Shaw has been one of the best performing players at the club. Able to drive with ball to create an attack, the 25-year-old has the highest percentage of successful take-ons, 57.14%, alongside the highest passing, crossing and shooting accuracy.

On the other hand, his defensive stats are not as impressive. Shaw has the lowest amount of clearances, interceptions, blocks and the second lowest number of clean sheets. 

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Also, into his seventh season at his current club, Cresswell has started 27 games so far this season. Keeping 10 clean sheets, the most between the four other left-backs, he also has the most clearances, interception, blocks, ball recoveries, touches and shots.

In addition, he also has the second most passes completed, just behind Chilwell. Despite starting multiple games as a centre-back, Cresswell has the most assists by any defender in this season's Premier League. 

Brilliant Crossing

The Hammers' defender has contributed to their brilliant season with seven assists.

The first two assists were against Leicester when West Ham won 3-0 in their first away win of the season. Cresswell played as a left centre half amongst a back three.

The first was a pin-point delivery from around 35-yards out for Michail Antonio to header past Kasper Schmeichel. The second assist of the game was a through ball from inside his own half for Pablo Fornals to bring down beautifully before doubling the lead. 

His third, fourth and fifth assists all came from superbly whipped free kicks for Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna and Tomas Soucek all to rise highest to header the ball into the back of the net. 

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Cresswell has also claimed two assists through corners - with his ability to cross the ball perfectly for attackers to easily score past the goalkeepers. 

Versatile Positioning 

Since the start of the season, David Moyes has set up his side in a range of formations, including five defenders and the back or the typical defensive four. Cresswell is versatile defender who has lined up as either a left-back, a left wing-back, or even at left centre-back.  

His most impressive performances have been when the 30-year-old starts as a one of the three central defenders. The formation allows both Cresswell and the left wing-back to alternate when going forward with one of the players covering. The set up also allows the East Londoners to defend in numbers. 

After Southgate's appointment, the England defence has ranged from three to five defenders, which is perfectly suited to Cresswell's best style of play, allowing the Englishmen to performs at his highest.