Football Features

Who are the best Euro 2024 left-backs in 2024?

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:00, 24 May 2024

Euro 2024 will showcase Europe’s best left-backs.

Some of football’s most talented full-backs are gracing the continent’s top seven leagues.

But who are the standout left-backs going to Germany?

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Below is a list based on their Squawka Score across 2024. Only players who have played 630+ minutes and wing-backs are excluded.

5. Théo Hernández

  • Club: AC Milan
  • Nation: France
  • Squawka Score: 63%

The history of French left-backs is well-documented, with greats such as Bixente Lizarazu, Patrice Evra, and Eric Abidal representing the tricolour at various tournaments this century. Théo Hernandez is living up to their legacy and will be France’s first choice in that position for Euro 2024. Despite a frustrating campaign with Milan, he has registered 11 assists in 45 matches and scored five goals. Hernandez dovetailing with Kylian Mbappé down France’s left flank has become a key part of Didier Deschamps’ game plan.

4. João Cancelo

  • Club: Barcelona
  • Nation: Portugal
  • Squawka Score: 68%

Nominally a right-back, João Cancelo has undergone a position change and is expected to start at left-back in Euro 2024. This change was anticipated, as Diogo Dalot has been making his mark in Roberto Martinez’s plans. Cancelo’s ease in playing in this new role for Barcelona has convinced Martinez to start him there in their recent international matches. He has played left-back in three out of the last four games. His productivity has been modest, with four goals and four assists in 41 outings for the Catalan giants this season.

3. Josko Gvardiol

  • Club: Manchester City
  • Nation: Croatia
  • Squawka Score: 72%

Zlatko Dalić has been closely monitoring the developments at Manchester City, where his centre-back has been playing on the left flank under Pep Guardiola. Josko Gvardiol has seamlessly adapted to this role — chipping in with several standout performances and goals — and is likely to be Croatia’s choice for that position. Meanwhile, Borna Sosa, who recently had ownership of the LB jersey, has performed well there when given the chance at Ajax but saw a reduction in playing time towards the end of the season and ended up on the bench and will go into Euro 2024 as Gvardiol’s understudy.

2. Andy Robertson

  • Club: Liverpool
  • Nation: Scotland
  • Squawka Score: 74%

Andy Robertson had a strong finish to the season despite being plagued by injuries. He re-established himself as the Premier League’s top left-back. In his last three matches, the Glaswegian scored two goals. He will aim to maintain this momentum as he leads Scotland into their fourth European Championship this summer.

1. Maximilian Mittelstädt

  • Club: VfB Stuttgart
  • Nation: Germany
  • Squawka Score: 78%

Timing your run is crucial in football. Before this season, Maximilian Mittelstädt had spent eight seasons with his boyhood club, Hertha BSC, and had never imagined representing Germany at a major tournament. However, due to the lack of a consistent left-back for Die Mannschaft, head coach Julian Nagelsmann turned to Mittelstädt, who had been performing well with his new team, VfB Stuttgart. Now, it’s his position to lose, especially after delivering impressive performances against France and the Netherlands. In the latter game, he scored a stunning goal to equalize.

How did we rank Euro 2024’s best left-backs?

We used Twenty3 Sport’s Discovery Tool to run a customised search. The Discovery Tool rates a player’s per 90 output in the metrics detailed below to produce a percentage score, referred to above as the Squawka Score.

Each player’s stats are compared to the average output of left-backs across the past three seasons of big-five European league football. The higher the score, the closer they rank to the 95th percentile and above for each metric.

We also weighted each stat from 1 to 5 to highlight the most important aspects of a left-back’s play style.

Squawka left-back ranking metrics Weighting
Touches | Pass acc. | Blocked shots | Clearances | Challenges lost (-)| Tackle fouls (-) 1
Aerial duels won | Touches in opp. box 2
Duels won | Take-ons  | Crosses | Passes into opp. half attempted | Chances created 3
Interceptions | Tackles | Final third entries | Penalty area entries | Big chances created 4
Ball recoveries | Open-play expected assists 5
(-) indicates a weighting that favours fewer instances within the relevant metric (e.g. fewest fouls conceded from tackles made)

To be awarded a score, a player must have reached the automatically calculated minutes threshold, in this case, 630 minutes in Europe’s big five leagues during 2024.