England manager Gareth Southgate has discussed his centre-back options and says he has been pleased with the development of Marc Guehi.
England take on Italy this evening and can confirm their place at Euro 2024 if they avoid defeat at Wembley. Southgate rotated his options for the 1-0 victory over Australia on Friday, with Fikayo Tomori and Lewis Dunk starting at centre-back for the friendly win.
Central defence appears a position up for grabs in the build up to the European Championship, with established duo John Stones and Harry Maguire having struggled for fitness and favour at club level respectively.
Stones has made just one substitute appearance in the Premier League this season, but could return to the starting side for England against Italy. Southgate was also full of praise for Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi, who has become a regular part of the squad.
“Stones has been out for a while and we have to monitor him. Marc is doing really really well,” Southgate said on the duo at a pre-match press conference.
“He (Guehi) might not catch the eye because he’s in the right place. He is composed with the ball, very good mentality. We think he is developing really well.”
Southgate also discussed Harry Maguire, who was an unused substitute against Australia. The centre-back endured a difficult night against Scotland during September’s international break, with every touch ironically jeered by the Scottish supporters after scoring an own goal at Hampden Park. Southgate is confident the England fans will get behind the Manchester United defender at Wembley.
“He will [receive a good reception]. They are brilliant with him and were that night [against Scotland]. They are behind the team. We have had a couple of incidents that I don’t understand because I don’t think any player wearing an England shirt deserves that. I saw John Barnes receive that over the years and it never helps the team.
“We are trying to create a successful England team where there has been the best connection between the team and the public for a while.”