Nathaniel Clyne - Player Profile

Clyne To Prove Himself At International Level

Personal information
Full name: Nathaniel Edwin Clyne
Date of birth: 5 April 1991 
Age: 24
Place of birth: Stockwell, England
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in) 
Playing position: Right-back

Club information
Current team: Liverpool
Number: 2

Youth career
Afewee Academy
Crystal Palace

Senior career
2008 – 2012: Crystal Palace 137 Appearances, 1 goal
2012 – 2015: Southampton 104 Appearances, 5 goals
2015 – Liverpool 3 Appearances, 0 goals

National team
2009 – 2010: England U19 9 Appearances, 0 goals
2011 – 2013: England U21 8 Appearances, 0 goals
2014 – England 5 Appearances, 0 goals  

Nathaniel Clyne has proved to be one of the signings of the season. His performances for Liverpool have surely cemented his place in the starting line-up for England as The Three Lions get ready to take on San Marino in a Euro Qualifier. Clyne has been just what the England set-up need and looks to make the right-back position his own.  He has made five appearances for Roy Hodgson's side since his debut against Slovenia in November, and this is only the beginning of Liverpool’s bright young starlet. 

The signing of Clyne from Southampton this summer has seen manager Brendan Rodgers finally shore up his problematic defensive flank. Clyne joined from Southampton in a deal worth £12.5million, signing a long-term contract with the Merseyside club. Irrespective of the rest of the summer’s transfer dealings, this will stand as one of the bargain signings of the 2015/16 Premier League and pound for pound, Clyne’s arrival may be the most significant.

The expiry of Glen Johnson’s contract at the end of the season 2014/15 season signalled a change for Rodgers. The 30-year-old is now at Stoke, with Clyne improving on him in every aspect. Most importantly, he is strong defensively, with Southampton conceding just 139 goals, or 1.2 goals per game, in the Premier League since he joined on a free transfer from Crystal Palace in 2012. His tackling ability and defensive intelligence stymied attack after attack out wide and in the penalty area. The English International has three full seasons of the top flight experience under his belt. He may have only turned 24 in April, but Clyne has already made close to 250 career appearances having broken through at Crystal Palace as a teenager. 

The 24-year-old follows the arrivals of James Milner, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez and Adam Bogdan at Anfield as Brendan Rodgers re-shapes his squad and looks to lift the gloom that surrounded the club after their disappointing 2014/15 campaign. Clyne established himself as a top Premier League right-back at Southampton. The defender was a key member of Saints’ back four last season, making 35 appearances and helping them qualify for the Europa League as they finished the campaign with the second best defensive record in the division. Clyne’s individual contribution was superb, and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman – a man who knows a thing or two about defending – described him as one of the best full-backs he’s managed in his 15-year coaching career.

The right-back's tackling ability is one of his biggest strengths and he made more than any other defender in the Premier League last season with 115. In fact, the only player to make more successful tackles in 2014/15 was Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic. The pressure is on Clyne, given how Dejan Lovren struggled after making the move from St Mary’s to Anfield last summer, but the former Crystal Palace player is a well-rounded defender who has all the tools to succeed as Liverpool’s first choice right-back. 

As well as being a strong tackler and confident in one-on-one situations, Clyne is a dangerous outlet going forward. His dynamic playing style contrasts sharply with Johnson’s casual approach, and he has the speed and energy to charge up and down the flank, cover for his team-mates and recover when caught out of position. Clyne’s marauding forward runs became a regular feature of Southampton’s playing style. And his attacking instincts could be particularly useful to Rodgers. The Liverpool manager will need time to settle on a favoured set-up for his new-look starting, though, he looks to have found one as Liverpools defence kept clean sheets in their first three EPL matches of the season. So Clyne’s versatility has served Liverpool well in the opening weeks of the campaign. 

And while Clyne can provide an immediate solution to Liverpool’s right-back woes, they are also obtaining a player with his best years ahead of him. Clyne’s career is on an upward trajectory, and he could make Liverpool and England’s right-back position his own for many years to come.