England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Crystal Palace centre-back Marc Guehi is a doubt for the upcoming Nations League games against Hungary, Germany and Italy.
The 21-year-old centre-back was called into just his second-ever senior England camp on Tuesday as Southgate named a 27-strong squad for their upcoming four games spread across ten days. Guehi made his international debut against Switzerland in March following an impressive debut Premier League season with Crystal Palace.
The former England Under-21 captain has been an almost ever-present for Patrick Vieira in south London following his summer move from Chelsea, helping the Eagles finish 12th in the table and reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup. He has struggled with injury for the final few games of the season, though coming off in the home win over Watford before suffering an ankle injury during the second half of Palace’s 3-2 loss to Everton last week.
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The latter injury ruled Guehi out of the final day of the season, where he watched from the Selhurst Park stands as Palace beat Manchester United 1-0. The defender did join his teammates at full-time for their traditional pitch walk with players’ families and friends, though he was sporting a sizeable protective boot to protect his ankle.
Guehi is one of 11 defenders named by Southgate in the latest England squad, with the manager calling his selections ‘a minefield’ due to the several injuries and lack of fitness with some players.
“We’ve picked extra numbers there as we have quite a few doubts at the back,” he explained. “It’s a bit of a minefield in terms of players who have missed football, players who are coming back from injury and some who have only had one 90 minutes and a couple unavailable in terms of Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell who haven’t played anything at all. It’s all a bit complicated. Marc Guehi is also a doubt, I would say.”
That Guehi is still firmly in Southgate’s thoughts despite carrying an injury is a good sign ahead of the World Cup at the end of the year. England only have six games until they play their first group stage match in Qatar against Iran, leaving few spaces for players not currently in the squad to break in.
Conor Gallagher, who earned his first call-up last November following a stunning start to his loan spell at Palace from Chelsea, is also named in the squad though there is no place for Tyrick Mitchell, who made his debut in the same game as Guehi against the Swiss in March.
The 22-year-old also comes into the summer off the back of a brilliant season in south London, having cemented himself as Palace’s first-choice left-back. Unfortunately, his only dip in form has come at the tail-end of the campaign, stemming from the team’s FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley. With competition for places in the England squad arguably at their most fierce at full-back, Mitchell has missed out this time, though he could still benefit from a call-up were others to drop out, as he did in March.