Much of the talk ahead of this summer’s European Championship is England’s incredible strength in depth.
Gareth Southgate has some really tough decisions ahead of next month’s tournament, with star names expected to stay at home.
This is perhaps a position the Three Lions haven’t found themselves in for a generation or two with truly world-class talent in most areas of the pitch.
One area where England are slightly thin on the pitch is the center-back, and that’s just the position where there could be some sort of injury crisis with just four weeks before the Euros.
Southgate and England fans would no doubt have been concerned about the sight of Harry Maguire on crutches following an ankle injury earlier this month.
Maguire was then seen on crutches during the week, and his absence was felt at United[/caption]
He missed Manchester United’s last two games, both games lost conceding six goals in the process.
The absence of the center-back has been sorely missed and there are fears he could even miss the Europa League final.
Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains hopeful his £ 80million man will be ready.
Southgate is likely to select Maguire even if he is not quite in good shape, such is his importance to the team.
The couple would likely have been the man of Man United and John Stones, but the England boss may have to return to the drawing board.
The next source of concern will be Tyrone Mings, who suffered a late injury against Everton earlier this week.
Tyrone Mings missed Villa’s loss to Palace on Sunday, but his status is currently unknown[/caption]
The issue was serious enough that Mings missed Villa’s 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace on Sunday, despite Dean Smith’s insistence that he be available.
While that doesn’t seem like a long-term problem, any injury issue this close to a tournament is cause for concern.
Behind Maguire and Stones it’s a really tough choice for Southgate as none have done enough to make shoes for themselves.
Eric Dier’s form has been appalling since the start of the year and may be relying on England’s previous performances to make it into the squad.
Southgate was in Tottenham on Sunday to watch Dier and Coady in action[/caption]
Conor Coady has been with England’s previous sides but his performances this season have not been on par with Wolves’ last campaign.
Southgate was at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday watching Coady and Dier, among others, as he reflected on his selection.
The Wolves man didn’t hurt his case with a man-of-the-match performance that included ten first-half clearances at Spurs.
James Tarkowski made two appearances in England and was on the waiting list for the 2018 World Cup, but he may not have done enough.
Michael Keane is a likely option to be included in the squad, while the wild picks are said to be Ben White of Brighton and Ben Godfrey of Everton.
Southgate is embarrassed for wealth elsewhere on the pitch, but the one that will likely cause him the most headaches is the center-back.