England’s dearth of elite centre-halves is well-known by now, and many might have thought that would have led to a call-up for Jamaal Lascelles by now.
Gareth Southgate has broken the top-six bias by removing Chris Smalling and gradually, Phil Jones, from the setup; with James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson, and of course Harry Maguire all receiving call-ups.
Most recently, Lewis Dunk got the nod, and still Lascelles has to wait. But why is he so far down the pecking order?
One area on which Gareth Southgate bases his major selection dilemmas is distribution. Jordan Pickford’s superior skills with the ball at his feet – ill-advised Cruyff turns aside – were one of the main reasons he became number one.
Perhaps Lascelles is viewed a more pure defender, as opposed to a ball-playing one, by Southgate. Dunk’s pass completion rate is far superior this season; 79.1 per cent compared to just 66.
Newcastle’s conservative style of play does not help Lascelles show off his skills, although England could perhaps use his leadership.
It also doesn’t look like getting much better for Lascelles. Conor Coady must surely be on Southgate’s radar as a ball-playing centre-half after Wolves’ outstanding start to the season.