Crystal Palace: Marc Guehi can take his place as England regular after earning call up
The England squad has been announced for the upcoming internationals against Ivory Coast and Switzerland and Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi was a shock inclusion.
There was plenty of talk about the 21-year-old last summer, as the Eagles made a big splash to bring him in from the Chelsea academy by signing him for £18m and making him their third most expensive player of all-time.
That was all despite no top flight experience in his career, but a stand-out campaign with Swansea in the Championship the previous season. Patrick Vieira had seen enough to bring him in as he rebuilt his team, and now Gareth Southgate has seen the light too.
Guehi stands at six-feet tall, is as quick as they come and has a real athlete’s physique. He’s strong, good in the air but what’s more than that and what’s important to note is that he’s so comfortable on the ball. That is essential for the modern-day centre-back and a box he ticks several times over.
England have a relatively deep pool of central defenders to pick from right now. Southgate has his favoured four in John Stones, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady. Ben White was also called up to this squad having been part of the selection at Euro 2020 last summer, but there was no space for the likes of Joe Gomez and Fikayo Tomori.
The fact Guehi has earned his call-up ahead of Tomori especially, who has been one of the best defenders in Italy this season for a Milan side that are top of Serie A, shows just how high his ceiling is. But it also means that he has no option but to perform otherwise Southgate will be able to pick someone else and forget about him quite easily.
Friendlies are often a tough way to break into the team, but Guehi must take what he’s given at this point. He will be an England international in the future, that much is certain. He’s got all the attributes, is a natural leader and is only going to get better as his career progresses.
But to make an impact and break into the squad ahead of the World Cup later this year, he must not only out-perform Coady and Mings at club level but prove to Southgate that he can do it at international level too.
In other England news, Manchester City: Phil Foden is England’s best player since Wayne Rooney