Exclusive: McAvennie says whether West Ham star Cresswell deserves England call-up
We’re delighted to welcome former West Ham striker Frank McAvennie as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium…
Frank McAvennie does not believe Aaron Cresswell deserves a call-up for England despite Gary Lineker recently claiming the West Ham left-back should be in the discussion.
Cresswell, 30, has been one of the most impressive performers for the Hammers this season while mainly playing in a new role as a left-sided centre-back.
The former Ipswich defender has assisted three goals in his eight Premier League appearances for West Ham and after the 1-0 win over Fulham at the weekend, Match of the Day host Lineker suggested he should be in contention for a return to the England squad.
However, ex-Irons striker McAvennie doesn’t see that happening any time soon for Cresswell because Gareth Southgate has plenty of other left-back options and because the 30-year-old isn’t playing for one of the Premier League’s top clubs.
When asked whether Cresswell has a chance of an England return, McAvennie told West Ham Zone: “I am not sure he has done enough for West Ham but it would be great for the boy.
“Is he even going to get a game? I don’t know. The left-back areas covered because they’ve got a few.
“He’s learning a lot now that he isn’t playing in a back four. He thought he was a winger.
“The games all changed for me because full-backs are wing-backs now, that’s why I like Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool.
“They’re defenders first and I like that but they’re best at going forward. Cresswell should get that into his game first and foremost because when they’re playing up the park he gets caught out. They can go up with possession of the football but they still need to get back.
“I’m not sure he’s at a big enough club to play for England at the moment.”
Cresswell has had his shot at playing for England.
In 2016, the West Ham left-back was handed his debut cap for the Three Lions by Gareth Southgate and went on to play two more times, with his last appearance coming against Lithuania in 2017.
He was seen as an out-and-out left-back then but has been deployed as a left-sided centre-back by David Moyes this term so that could give Southgate some food for thought as he has regularly set England up to play a back-three.
But if Southgate wanted Cresswell as a left-back, he would face a lot of competition from the likes of Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand.
Only Chilwell gets called up regularly among them but Southgate would more than likely go for one of the left-backs at a top Premier League club like Shaw or Rose, which is what we think McAvennie was getting at in his interview.
In other West Ham news, Ben Johnson impressed in the Under-21s’ win over Portsmouth on Tuesday night.