England manager Gareth Southgate is a big admirer of Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi and central defence is one of the few areas with a place up for grabs
Marc Guehi is pushing hard for a starting place in next summer’s Euros.
England boss Gareth Southgate is a big admirer of the Crystal Palace defender and central defence is one of the few areas with a place up for grabs. Guehi, 23, will be hoping for another chance against Italy at Wembley when England can clinch their place in the tournament with a victory in the Group C qualifier.
Manchester City centre-half John Stones is a shoo-in for the Euros if he is fully fit but there is a doubt over who will partner him in central defence.
Southgate has been fiercely loyal to Harry Maguire despite the Manchester United defender struggling for regular game time at Old Trafford under Erik ten Hag. But Maguire might struggle to keep his place next summer if he is still not playing regularly and that will open the door for Guehi.
Southgate has been watching Guehi closely, has also had glowing scouring reports in recent months and likes his ability on the ball, his pace and his defensive qualities while he is equally comfortable playing on either side of central defence.
It has become a competitive area with Lewis Dunk, Fikayo Tomori and Levi Colwill also in the squad this time but Guehi did not play against Australia and generally, it looks as if Southgate saved most of his squad for Tuesday’s qualifier.
Stones is just back from injury and has only played 22 minutes for City since the Community Shield and came on as a 62nd-minute substitute against Australia.
Southgate may not risk Stones and could opt for Maguire and Guehi against Italy but either way it looks as if the Palace defender has a big chance to nail down a Euros starting place.
England are set to go back to a more full-strength line-up against Italy with Southgate’s first-choice XI becoming increasingly clear with just a couple of places now up for grabs.
Kyle Walker is set to come back at right back, Kalvin Phillips could get the nod in midfield with Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham nailed on while Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden seem certain to start either side of Harry Kane.