One of Roy Hodgson's toughest selection policies at this summer's World Cup will be at left-back, with England possessing two excellent options. Leighton Baines has established himself as arguably the most respected left-back in the Premier League over the past few seasons, while Luke Shaw's emergence since Southampton's promotion to the Premier League in 2012 has seen him lauded as a potential star for years to come.
It's a new situation for England. For years Ashley Cole was a regular—a world-class performer who had everything a modern-day full-back needs. He was quick, strong, athletic, exceptional going forward and sound defensively. However, at 33, he no longer holds down a first-team place at Chelsea, and so it's Baines and Shaw who are now set to do battle.
Here we look at five reasons Hodgson should opt for Baines as his first choice, despite the closeness of the two players in terms of their quality.