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Wayne Bridge: 'Luke Shaw should be England's first-choice left-back'

Wayne Bridge: 'Luke Shaw should be England's first-choice left-back'
© Reuters
Manchester United defender Shaw was left out of Gareth Southgate's latest England squad.

Wayne Bridge believes out-of-favour Luke Shaw is England's best available left-back but feels Ben Chilwell can develop "to the next level" by joining Manchester City.

Shaw was left out of Gareth Southgate's Nations League finals squad after last week being crowned Manchester United player of the year.

Leicester defender Chilwell was selected ahead of the 23-year-old and has been heavily linked with a big-money summer switch to Premier League champions City.

Wayne Bridge, right, retired from football in 2014 but returned to play in a team of Southampton fans at St Mary's on Tuesday (Tom Shaw/NatWest)

Retired left-back Bridge, who won 36 England caps between 2002 and 2009, thinks City manager Pep Guardiola is the ideal man to develop Chilwell's career and make it more difficult for Shaw to return to national team contention.

"I think Luke Shaw's a brilliant player. I think he had a nasty, nasty injury (a double leg break in 2015) and all credit to him for coming back from it and I think he's probably been one of United's better players," Bridge told Press Association Sport.

"He's done really well playing in a team that hasn't been performing that well. I'd put him at number one spot.

"Chilwell, I think, great player and I think Gareth likes him quite a lot. And there's talk of him going to (Manchester) City.

"I remember he had a hug with Pep after the (Manchester City v Leicester) game so that might have been it signed, sealed and delivered.

"If he goes there, I think Pep will just take him to the next level – you see how much he improves players or he gets the good out of players.

"If Chilwell goes to City, he'll (continue) pushing Luke Shaw for an England spot, 100 per cent."

Chilwell, who has been capped six times, and Tottenham's Danny Rose were the preferred choices for the Nations League, starting with the semi-final against Holland on June 6.

Shaw, meanwhile, has been restricted to just 60 minutes of international action since Southgate replaced Sam Allardyce in September 2016 and was not picked for last summer's World Cup.

He was selected for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro in March but withdrew due to injury and has since slipped down the pecking order.

Bridge played alongside Southgate for England, with the pair included in Sven-Goran Eriksson's 2002 World Cup squad.

The 38-year-old former Southampton and Chelsea defender admits to being pleasantly surprised by the impact of his former international team-mate.

Gareth Southgate, right, was a team-mate of Wayne Bridge at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea
Gareth Southgate, right, was a team-mate of Wayne Bridge at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea (Rui Vieira/PA)

"If you were talking back then (saying) he's going to be England manager, you'd think, 'yeah all right, mate, good one'," said Bridge.

"If anything I'd probably say he's too nice to be a manager.

"And he's just come in and been brilliant really. He's given people chances and he's got the players believing and got them playing good football.

"I take my hat off to him, he's done brilliant – waistcoats are the new thing now."

:: Wayne Bridge was appearing at the latest Virgin Media #SuperSaints event which saw fans play at St Mary's Stadium. For more information, visit virginmedia.com/virgin-tv-edit/super-saints


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