Newcastle 2020/21 position battle: Right-back

With three qualified right-backs currently on the roster, who will grab the reins this season for Newcastle United?

For years, DeAndre Yedlin was seemingly the only qualified option at right-back for Newcastle United. But, Javier Manquillo established himself as the best option last season and Emil Krafth arrived last summer and is proven on the international stage.

As we continue to look at some of the positional battles ahead of Saturday’s opener vs. West Ham United, we evaluate who should be starting on the right side of the Newcastle defense.

The Candidates

Emil Krafth, Javier Manquillo, DeAndre Yedlin

The Expert Analysis

Durim Halimi: Newcastle United do not have much of a dilemma at right-back thanks to Javier Manquillo’s impressive development since 2017. DeAndre Yedlin provides that extra bit of spark offensively with his pace, but Manquillo’s overall game is better.

Emil Krafth got more game time during Project Restart, but his slower defensive reactions will keep him on the bench. Manquillo has the best defensive awareness of the bunch, is more confrontational, times his overlapping runs well, and delivers accurate balls into the box.

Krafth and Yedlin will get their fair share of chances to show what they can do in a congested schedule that will require lineup rotations, but Manquillo’s name will be the first on the team sheet for most of the season.

Carson A. Merk: Javier Manquillo really took some big strides last season and should be the presumptive starter entering the 2020/21 campaign. But, DeAndre Yedlin can’t be counted out as long as he’s on the roster. He’s been the starter there for years and his pace is a unique weapon.

I’m really curious about Emil Krafth. He arrived last summer with some experience in Ligue 1 and with the Swedish national team. He looked lost and overmatched at the beginning of last season, but he looked like he’s capable to perform in the EPL in late-season appearances.

If Yedlin is sold, which is very possible, Manquillo should get the lion share of minutes at right-back, but Krafth should get a chance to showcase his skills and prove himself in England.