13 Aug 2012

'I like him!' - Reina claims Chelsea star is 'the best in England'. Agree?

Chelsea's season got off to a shaky start on Sunday with a 3-2 Community Shield defeat to Manchester City. England international Ashley Cole was once again in the starting line-up, and according to Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, the former Arsenal man is one of the world's best left-backs.

In an recent interview with the official Liverpool FC site, Reina was asked to name the best left back he's ever seen, and he responded:

"There are a lot of good left-backs now, but for me, Ashley Cole is the best left-back in England.

"I like him a lot. I also like Marcelo at Real Madrid and Adriano from Barcelona".

As much as I hate to admit it, Cole is a good player, but is he the best in England? Where does Jose Enrique fit into the equation?

For me, Enrique is a good player but end product matters, and for the amount of time and possession he has in the final third, the Spaniard's end product is just not good enough. Take last season's stats, for example:

* 21% crossing accuracy (109 off-target crosses)
* 27% shooting accuracy (Only 3 shots on target all season)
* 70% passing accuracy in opposition half.
* Defensively, won only 57% of ground/aerial duels.

Stats: OPTA

Additionally, there is no real competition for Enrique's position, and the arrival of another top quality left-back would be a good thing for the squad, and may even push Enrique to up his game.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Ashley Cole probably in the top three left backs in world football in the last 5 years or so me thinks. Top player he has been, though entering his twilight years now. Probably the only player for England in the last 10 years that comes away looking consistently solid at international level from that so-called golden generation. Enrique is a decent player but certainly isn't anywhere near the likes of Ashley Cole, Lahm and Marcelo  for me. Not many are though, to be fair. Enrique hasn't really hit consistent top note in either defending or attacking, like his superiors do/have done. Who knows, he is in his mid-20s, he could close the gap.

  2. Enrique?????? And you have the audacity to call us Rafa fans blinkered, quality! He is the best left back in the epl by a mile. :-)

  3. Enrique is not yet on Cole's level... he could be though, but he needs to be a smarter player. I do believe Enrique has a better physical presence, but Cole is just a bit more consistent and clever...

  4. just laughable to even try to compare. its quite simple for me, cole has been best left back sinse roberto carlos, and has possibly been wasted at chelsea with there negative play over the years, as regarding getting forward etc.
    he handles all top right wingers most the time.

  5. Cole is better, Enrique shows plenty of promise but flatters to deceive....

    The stats speak for themselves, very often a good move will be wasted by Enrique as was witnessed far too many times last season....

    Thats simply not good enough, for sure we need some competition for LB, cannot rely of Mr Enrique alone....otherwise we could be looking at another repeat of last seasons  woe's...

    This current crop of players need to understand that IF they don't perform to the level we are aiming for then they WILL be replaced.....

    I very much include MR P Reina in that last sentence....

  6. Ashley Cole is massively underrated. Although not a goal scoring defender he is pretty consistent.

  7. Enrique isnt even the best left back at Liverpool let alone the EPL..

    Ashley Cole has kept the best wingers in his pocket time and time again. Ronaldo has always struggled against him. He has pace, good timing, strength, rarely gets booked / sent off. The only think he really lacks is goals and despite common belief, he is probably not as attack minded as some - but this means he is rarely caught out of position.

  8. Is Jose Enrique who had the interview??!?!?  Not Reina!!!!!!

  9.  That is entirely accurate... and hilarious.

  10. Jamie, do you have the same stats for Ashley Cole out of interest?

  11. Yup, Cole has been wasting his time winning all those trophies..............I bet he regrets it.

  12. You're absolutely right. He must be kicking himself for spending all that time at Chelsea. You know. Winning things. 

  13. Didn't mean it like that at all, he's had a top career at Chelsea. But as a player could of maybe been better in Spain or even united. One Chelsea's best buys for sure

  14. Cole probably is one of if not the best left back in England at the moment, but the stats are distorted.

    Ashley Cole's crossing accuracy was 22%, 1% better than Enriques.
    His Aerial Duels were 45% successfull (Enriques were 56%) and his ground duels were 53% to Enriques 57%.

    Passing success is where Cole comes into his own 85% to Enriques 79% so it seems he's a better ball playing left back than Enrique is.

    Last year it seems the full backs were responsible for putting in crosses for Carroll and the like and we had an excellent defensive record. So as a full back it wasn't his responsibility to score goals and our woeful conversion rate is partly responsible for the lack of assists (still more than Downing).

    Out of every left back in the England Enrique had the highest % of tackling success and likes to press up the pitch suiting Rodgers and he won the ball back quicker than any other left back in England (especially in the opposition half) 3 minutes quicker than Assou Ekotto who was 2nd best.

    Maynor Figeroa is underrated if you go by statistics, his cross completion was 41% mad a tackle every 31 minutes (the best of all left backs in England), made the most interceptions, won the highest percentage of ground duels.

    If we are looking for a inexpensive left back who can compete with Enrique, Figeroa wouldn't be a bad shout.

  15. Massively overrated..... Baines is better than him!