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Joe Hart’s BBC Sport column: Why England’s defence is not as big an issue as people might think

Joe Hart column

Unless England do not concede any goals at all, their defence is always going to be criticised because of how much quality we have in midfield and attack.

It’s seen as a weakness, despite the fact we have in our back four Stones and Kyle Walker, who have both played a key role in helping City win every trophy going in recent seasons.

Alongside them is Kieran Trippier and behind them is goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. They both helped us reach the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of the last Euros, so we are not exactly short of experience or quality.

Of course, Maguire is not available – but my view is quite cold when it comes to that. At past tournaments he has knitted everything together at the back for England, and he probably would have done the same this time too – but he is not here, so he is not even a talking point. It’s just about the players who are in the squad now.

Over the past few months, Southgate has had plenty of time to work out who fits best into his team if either Stones or Maguire are out, and he also knows who is in form at the moment.

Of all the centre-halves in the country, it looks like he has chosen Guehi and, from my point of view, I don’t think it matters that he is not a household name. If I was playing behind him, then it would not bother me.

The focus is on the Crystal Palace defender right now because, aged 23 and with 11 caps, he is relatively young and inexperienced, but he has been trusted before when Maguire has been injured.

There is a reason he has been chosen to play again at such an important time. Let’s get behind him and look forward to him blossoming on the biggest stage, going into a tournament we are trying to win.

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Written by Joseph

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