The fullback role has become increasingly important in men’s and women’s football in recent years.
There are a huge number of talented right-backs in the women’s game, with younger stars emerging in recent years to rival the established full-backs already vying for top honours.
These are the ten best women’s right-backs in the world right now.
Best right-backs for women in the world: 10. Natalia Kuikka
Natalia Kuikka is a versatile footballer who can play down the back line, but it is at right-back where the 26-year-old Finland international really shines. Kuikka is part of the Portland Thorns squad that won the NWSL Championship this year and played every minute of their post-season games.
She has won the Finnish Female Player of the Year award three times, in 2017, 2020 and 2021.
9. Laura Wienroither
It was a quiet start to life in the WSL for Laura Wienroither after signing for Arsenal from German side Hoffenheim in January this year. She initially struggled to displace Arsenal’s long-term right-back Noelle Maritz, but a successful European Championship for Austria saw her attract a great deal of extra attention.
Wienroither particularly impressed in Austria’s opening match against England, keeping Lauren Hemp quiet as they limited eventual tournament winners to scoring just once. Move on to this season and Wienroither looks to have displaced Maritz and become Arsenal’s first-choice right-back.
Like Laura Wienroither, Wilms didn’t make a big impression at first when she jumped to a bigger club, in this case Wolfsburg. She was part of manager Tommy Stroot’s selection at FC Twente, but made only six base places last season.
This year, however, her role has become a lot more important and so far she has started every game in the FrauenBundesliga and already has two assists. Wilms also started every game for the Netherlands at the European Championship, and despite a disappointing tournament for them overall, she was one of their more successful players.
7. Eva Perisset
Chelsea have been looking for a full-back in recent seasons and seem to have found the perfect match in Eve Perisset. The 27-year-old French defender is a very versatile player who can play as a left back or in midfield, but it is at right back where she has looked her best. Perisset is another player who attracted a lot of attention at the European Championship, where she helped France to their highest-ever finish at an international tournament, but Chelsea had already secured her contract after her contract expired at Bordeaux, where she spent two seasons . Perisset already has 20 shot-creating plays in the WSL this season, second only to Guro Reiten at Chelsea.
6. Giulia Gwinn
Named in the Euro 2022 squad of the tournament, 23-year-old Giulia Gwinn looked poised to establish herself as one of the best right-backs in the world. Having previously won the Best Young Player Award at the 2019 World Cup, Gwinn has shown she is capable of performing at the highest level for both Germany and Bayern Munich.
However, her career has been repeatedly interrupted by serious injuries and she tore her anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in October, having torn her ACL in her right knee earlier in 2020.
5. Sofia Huerta
Sofia Huerta has long been a versatile player, but it is at right-back where she has really seen her career take it to the next level.
Huerta actively sought opportunities to play more regularly at club level at fullback to secure a spot on the national team and has only recently really established himself in the US women’s team. Her 2022 season was the best season of her career, winning the NWSL Shield with the OL Reign and being named in the NWSL’s Best XI, having made the Second XI four times before.
Only Carson Pickett had more shots from defense in the 2022 NWSL season than Huerta, who hopes to go to her first World Cup with the US in 2023.
Ashley Lawrence’s performances for Paris St-Germain and Canada have seen her regularly recognized as one of the best right-backs in the world. Lawrence won the third most tackles in the Champions League for PSG last season as they reached the semi-finals, while her six goals were also the third most by a defender.
Lawrence was also an integral part of the Canadian side that won Olympic gold in 202, starting all six of their matches. Only centre-back Kadeisha Buchanan played more minutes at the tournament than she did.
3. Ellie Carpenter
Another player currently out with an ACL injury, Ellie Carpenter was one of the highest-rated fullbacks in the world when Lyon signed her as a 20-year-old. Carpenter made her international debut for Australia as a 15-year-old and became the youngest-ever female footballer to compete in the Olympics when she went to Rio in 2016.
She injured her ACL in the Champions League final, which Lyon won 3-1, but hopes to be fit again for a World Cup at home in Australia in 2023.
2. Ona Batlle
Manchester United’s Ona Batlle may be only 23 years old, but she looks set to have a very successful career ahead of her.
The Spanish right back, who can also play as a left back, has been one of the stars in the Women’s Super League in recent seasons. The former Barcelona youth player was forced to leave the club to seek more first-team opportunities with spells at Madrid CFF and Levante before joining United.
Regularly battling at the top of lists in terms of stats such as tackles made and progressive passes within the WSL, demonstrating her skill both defensively and moving forward with the ball. Last season she was named in the PFA WSL Team of the Year.
1. Lucy Bronze
Heading into Euro 2022, it looked like Lucy Bronze’s career was going to be a bit adrift. The former FIFA Women’s Player of the Year did not have a positive relationship with Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor, which she had rejoined after leaving Lyon after three incredibly successful years.
Heading into the European Championship, she made a surprise decision to sign for Barcelona before winning Euro 2022 with England, fulfilling a lifelong dream of winning a major tournament with her country. Bronze started every game for England, as a key leader in the team as they lifted the trophy.
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