LISTEN: England’s Defence Threatens Football’s Homecoming

LISTEN: England’s Defence Threatens Football’s Homecoming

England’s back four could prove their Achilles heel in their bid to win Euro 2024 this summer, according to It’s Kicking Off co-hosts Chris Sutton and Ian Ladyman.

Gareth Southgate’s men enter the tournament as favourites to end 58 years of hurt, and will kickstart their campaign against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday night.

But they will be without Harry Maguire due to injury, while Luke Shaw is also working his way back to full fitness after four months on the sidelines and John Stones has been battling with a sickness bug in recent days.

Stones returned to training on Thursday, but Southgate is still likely be forced to pick Marc Guehi for his major tournament debut and Kieran Trippier in an unfamiliar left back role, and Ladyman admits England’s makeshift defence ‘makes me a little bit nervous’.

Sutton agrees with Ladyman’s concerns, and feels Southgate may regret leaving Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite out of his final 26-man squad, with the former England striker claiming it could be a ‘mistake’ to not pick him when he was the only naturally left-footed centre back in the provisional training group.

He suggested England could lack ‘a bit of natural balance’ without Branthwaite, with Lewis Dunk appearing to be next in line to feature if England pick up another injury at the heart of their defence. 

Listen to It’s All Kicking Off! on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. New episodes released every day during the Euros.

There are concerns over England’s defence, with Luke Shaw having been sidelined for four months

John Stones has also been battling a sickness bug in recent days ahead of the first Euros game

John Stones has also been battling a sickness bug in recent days ahead of the first Euros game

Kieran Trippier is due to play in an unfamiliar left back role in the absence of Shaw

Kieran Trippier is due to play in an unfamiliar left back role in the absence of Shaw

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