Alex Rogers looks back at Nathaniel Clyne’s superb debut season at Liverpool. The fullback has hardly put a foot wrong since arriving from Southampton.
This season has been a funny one for Liverpool. There have been devastating lows like the Capital One Cup final and Europa League final, but it has also had ecstatic highs such as Liverpool’s dismantlement of Man City, Lallana’s goal against Norwich, that game against Dortmund and, of course, the appointment of Jürgen Klopp. Yes, this season has been awfully inconsistent but one player who has definitely been consistent this year is Nathaniel Clyne.
Clyne’s first season with Liverpool has been great for the England international. He’s been amazingly consistent at right fullback, unlike certain other fullbacks. Cough, Moreno, cough. Clyne has played 52 games for Liverpool in his first season and that tells you a lot already as to how highly Klopp rates him. 52 games in your first season is massive! He was no doubt a great upgrade on the aging Glen Johnson.
Reviewing Clyne at the end of the season, it’s clear to see that £12.5 million was a steal for such a talented young player, especially in a time where English players in the Premier League can fetch a ridiculous fee. Despite this, I feel that Clyne is underrated, even slightly from our own fans.
A reason I feel that this is the case is because Clyne is a very textbook player. What I mean by this is that Clyne does his job and not much more. But don’t get me wrong, this is definitely not a bad thing! In fact it’s great to see. Clyne is a fantastic fullback as he follows two simple rules. Defend first, attack later.
This may not seem like a hard set of rules to follow, but I see fullbacks all the time attacking far too much when their first concern should be to defend. But it does mean that Clyne may not stand out as much as other players that may attack first and defend later. I’m looking at you again Alberto. Whereas Clyne has done his job silently and diligently, Moreno has stood out for all the wrong reasons.
Clyne rarely ever makes a mistake in defence and he compliments attack well by sending in crosses where needed. According to Squawka.com he has made only one error in defence and none leading to a goal.
What Clyne does fantastically well is knowing when to attack. When Clyne does attack he gives that extra width Liverpool have been lacking all season, stretching defences and giving the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Sturridge extra space to work their magic. He may not get his name on the score sheet but without his extra width, I doubt as many goals would have been scored.
At the prime age of 25, Clyne can only improve and improve he will. I have no doubt about this. He is already up there as one of the best right backs in the league. And his consistency! It’s so good to see a player in a Liverpool shirt I can rely on. No really, seeing Clyne play consistently brings a tear to my eye, after years of inconsistent right backs. I look forward to seeing Clyne with us for a long time.
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