The back three: which of England’s centre backs best suit the role?

It seems Gareth Southgate looks dead set on playing a back three this summer, but the recent friendlies with Italy and the Netherlands hasn’t been without controversy.

Placing Kyle Walker on the right hand side of the back three raised a few eyebrows, but it certainly worked for the Three Lions.

This change in style has got fans and pundits alike talking and now sites like are upping England’s chances and odds to go far in the tournament.

The bookies currently have England at 16/1 and 8/11 to reach the Quarter Final. Not bad considering the nation were branded no hopers at the end of Euro 2016.

Southgate does have decisions to make though. He may have got the team playing how he wants, but he still hasn’t nailed down his back three.

We take a look at the players best suited to slot into those roles…

John Stones

John Stones will perhaps be the first choice centre back for Southgate this summer. Despite being in and out of the Manchester City team of late, his playing out from the back style and calmness on the ball is perfectly suited to how England want to play.

Harry Maguire

Maguire has impressed for both club and country this season and provides a good balance between classic English defending and the ability to pass the ball.

He’ll be able to keep play moving and won’t be fazed finding the ball at his feet on the edge of his own box.

Alfie Mawson

The Swansea City man certainly fits the bill when it comes to the template being set by Southgate, but Mawson is yet to get his chance for England.

It would be a huge risk to throw him straight into the deep end, and despite looking a great fit, not getting any game time in the recent friendlies is probably telling.

Kyle Walker

That makes Kyle Walker a prime candidate to move inside from right wing back.

Walker passed the test against Italy and the Netherlands and looked comfortable on the right hand side of a back three.

He could be a key figure in England’s play this summer as his pace going forward will open up the Three Lions in attack as he pushes into midfield, almost like a right back within a right back.

That will overcrowd the opposition in midfield and free up England players to really create.

Joe Gomez

Another option is Joe Gomez. He’s yet to play in the heart of defence for Liverpool this season but he has excelled there in the past.

He’s flexible right across the back and has a pass percentage rate that never fluctuated below the 80s. He’s already starred in an England shirt and Southgate does have a lot of trust in him. If Walker stays out on the right wing, Gomez really will fancy his chances of a starting place.




The back three: which of England’s centre backs best suit the role?

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