The race to partner John Stones at Euro 2024 is on! Can Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi pounce with...
The race is on for England's centre back hopefuls to partner John Stones at the heart of the defence at next summer's European Championship in Germany.
Gone are the days where England fans could rely on an established partnership at the back, with Manchester City's Stones now the only centre half with their name seemingly etched in stone on Southgate's teamsheet.
However, not even potential future managerPep Guardiola has experimented with just one central defender in the modern era - at least not yet - and as good as he is, Stones will need a partner that Three Lions fans can look to for a similar level of reliability and consistency in an England shirt.
But with only a little over nine months between now and the tournament's official start date, Southgate is running low on opportunities to test out a new duo and give them enough games under their belts to be ready and raring to go in Germany.
The England boss has included five central defenders in his latest squad - with Stones himself out injured - but who looks most likely to join the City man at the back next summer? Here, Mail Sport takes you through the five main contenders ahead of upcoming qualifiers against Ukraine and Scotland.