‘Aaron Cresswell must be knocking on the door of an England recall’
Aaron Cresswell’s modesty means any mention of a potential England recall are instantly laughed off – but nobody is joking about the West Ham United defender’s seriously good form.
The No3 has three senior caps to his name, all of them earned playing as an orthodox left-back under current Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate.
Now, however, with Southgate favouring a back five and not afraid to field converted full-backs in the wide centre-back positions, where a combination of defensive resilience and ability to support the attack are key, there is a growing clamour for the Hammers star to return to the squad for the first time since October 2017.
Speaking on the BBC’s Match of the Day programme following Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Fulham at London Stadium, former England internationals Gary Lineker and Jermaine Jenas both praised Cresswell’s ability, versatility and form.
When we're playing well there is no reason to change it and I'm delighted the way we've had the first eight games and we're doing well
“Aaron Cresswell is not in the England squad but he must be knocking on the door,” Lineker enthused.
“I think we’ve got a player here who is playing out of his skin,” Jenas responded. “I feel we’ve got a player who is playing on the left of a three, he can play left-back and he is one of West Ham’s most creative players.
“We saw one of his set pieces he whipped in… He’s a threat and he’s been a threat against every team he’s come up against. He gets himself into these midfield positions and he puts the icing on the cake by absolutely whipping a free-kick towards the top corner and I think there is a little tiny touch that stops him scoring.”
Cresswell has undoubtedly been superb, helping West Ham keep three clean sheets and providing assists for three goals in the opening eight matches of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.
In open play, he is working effectively with his left wing-back Arthur Masuaku and central defensive partners Angelo Ogbonna and Fabian Balbuena, in particular, while his set pieces are causing consistent havoc in opposition penalty areas.
“I'm really enjoying it at the minute,” the 30-year-old confirmed. “Obviously the team is playing well, That is our third clean sheet and considering some of the games and the teams we've played against in recent weeks, we're delighted with the clean sheet going into the international break.”
However, when he is asked if the positional change – which he previously thrived in during David Moyes’ first spell in charge in 2017/18 – has given him a new lease of life, that modesty shines through yet again.
“It is not so much about the individual, as the team is the most important thing,” he said. “If the gaffer asks me to play left-back in a four or in a three on the left, I'll do whatever is most important for the team. That comes before any individual.
“I think the system suits the style of players we have got, with Arthur and Vlad [Coufal in the wing-back positions]. The personnel suits us the way we're playing.
“When we're playing well there is no reason to change it and I'm delighted the way we've had the first eight games and we're doing well.”