There’s an argument, made convincingly elsewhere, that the wing-back is the most vital role in modern football today.
A position long decried for its lack of glamour, it has since been transformed into a vital means of attack with the ability to cross and dribble deemed essential skills for any player hoping to succeed there.
It has been an exceptional year for wing-backs.
Stephen Ward, for a long time considered nothing more than a journeyman during a quiet career, has enjoyed a tremendous campaign with Burnley. So too has Kieran Trippier, whose inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad is no surprise.
Neither, however, made the following list of the five best wing-backs to grace the competition this year.