The World Cup spelled out in bold neon lights a few home truths about the state of the England national football team, not least that it wasn’t actually very good.
There are a plethora of reasons why this is the case, but one major point to have arisen was the lack of even two top-drawer centre-backs available for England manager Roy Hodgson to select from.
At a push (well a shove), Chelsea’s Gary Cahill could be labelled world class, but for all his endeavour it’s now crystal clear that Phil Jagielka’s position alongside him is up for grabs.
Here are five of the best possible candidates who could help the Three Lions in their 2/5-rated quest to qualify for Euro 2016 as Group E winners:
John Stones – Everton
On the standby list for the World Cup squad, Everton’s young defender surprised many with his consummate displays after his elevation to the first team last season. He’s currently in pole position.
Steven Caulker – QPR
QPR’s latest £8m signing has long promised mush despite apparently not cutting the mustard at Tottenham before getting relegated by Cardiff. Still, the raw materials are there and if paired with Rio Ferdinand at Loftus Road this can only aid his development.
Curtis Davies – Hull
Murmurings grew into rumblings of a call-up last season as Hull’s skipper marshalled the Tigers defence all the way to the FA Cup final.
Phil Jones – Manchester United
If Louis van Gaal’s first deployment of United’s utility man in a 7-0 thrashing of LA Galaxy is anything to go by, then Hodgson may finally have his answer. Jones has all the attributes to be a first-class centre-back he just needs to play a whole season there at Old Trafford.
Craig Dawson – West Brom
Certainly the outsider of the quintet, but West Brom’s reluctance to sell the Englishman to Burnley shows they have first-team plans for him this season. Having played 15 times for the England U21’s, scoring six times, there is clearly talent to be tapped.
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