A lot of the talk before this summer’s European Championship is England’s amazing strength in depth.
Gareth Southgate has some really tough decisions to make ahead of next month’s tournament, with some star names set to be left at home.
It is perhaps a position the Three Lions haven’t found themselves in for a generation or two with some genuinely world class talents in most areas of the pitch.
One area where England are slightly thin on the ground is at centre-back, and that’s just the position where there might be something of an injury crisis with just four weeks until the Euros.
Southgate and England fans alike would no doubt have been worried by 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 has been felt at United[/caption]
He has missed the last two games for Manchester United, both games they’ve lost conceding six goals in the process.
The centre-back’s absence has been sorely missed and there are fears he could even miss the Europa League final.
Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remained hopeful that his £80million man will be ready.
Southgate is likely to select Maguire even if he’s not fully fit, such is his importance to the squad.
The pairing would likely have been the Man United man and John Stones, but the England boss may have to go back to the drawing board.
The next cause for concern will be Tyrone Mings, who picked up an injury late on against Everton earlier this week.
Tyrone Mings missed Villa’s defeat to Palace on Sunday, but his status is currently unknown[/caption]
The problem was bad enough that Mings missed Villa’s 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday, despite Dean Smith’s insistence he would be available.
Even though it appears to not be a long-term problem, any injury problems this close to a tournament are something of a concern.
Behind Maguire and Stones, it’s a really tough choice for Southgate as none have done enough to make themselves shoe-ins.
Eric Dier’s form has been dreadful since the turn of the year and may be counting on previous England performances to get himself in the squad.
Southgate was at Tottenham on Sunday watch Dier and Coady in action[/caption]
Conor Coady has been in previous England squads, but his performances this season have not been on the same level as in Wolves’ last campaign.
Southgate was at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday watching Coady and Dier, among others, as he ponders his selection.
The Wolves man did his case no harm with a man-of-the-match performance that included ten clearances in the first half at Spurs.
James Tarkowski has made two England appearances and was on the standby 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 wildcard choices would be Brighton’s Ben White and Everton’s Ben Godfrey.
Southgate has an embarrassment of riches elsewhere on the pitch, but the one that will probably be causing him most headaches is at centre-back.