Gareth Southgate recently announced the England squad for the upcoming friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast and there have been some notable omissions. The selection of the frontline appears to have been done on merit but the same cannot be said for the defense.
England have one of the best squads in the world at the moment
The Three Lions have not lifted a major international trophy since 1966 but currently hold one of the best squads in international football. The centre-back department, in particular, boasts a lot of talent, which has not been the case for well over a decade. However, some have performed better than others this season
On that note, let's take a look at the 5 top rated English centre-backs this season.
Note: Ratings as per Whoscored.com
#5 Fikayo Tomori - 6.96/10
Fikayo Tomori has arguably been the best centre-back in Serie A this season. The Englishman, who joined AC Milan permanently from Chelsea last summer, has produced world-class performances for the Rossoneri.
It's been 11 years since the 7-time European champions lifted the league title, but they are in pole position to win it this year, thanks to Tomori & co. While Napoli, Inter Milan and Juventus have maintained a better defense than them, their performances in the big games have been crucial.
Much of that has been possible due to the English international, whose tactical nous, speed and intelligence has been sublime. In his 22 league appearances, the side have kept 9 clean sheets, showcasing the 24-year-old's brilliance.
Hence, it was a massive surprise that Gareth Southgate did not opt to select the AC Milan star for the upcoming friendlies.
#4 Reece Oxford- 6.96/10
Reece Oxford, a rising English talent a couple of years ago, was believed to have lost his way. However, his performances for FC Augsburg this season have shown that the youngster is far from throwing in the towel on his career.
The 14th placed Bundesliga side may be fighting to stay up this season but that has been down to their inefficiency in attack. The defense have done their job well and have conceded as many goals as third placed Bayer Leverkusen.
Oxford has been the key to this defensive resilience, as the 23-year-old star has shown a lot of maturity and sensibility on and off the ball. His ability to pass the ball out from the back has also proved useful at times, while his aerial prowess has been helpful in set-piece situations.
Like Tomori, he has been a gem for his team this season but has not been selected in the national team for the friendlies this month.
#3 James Tarkowski- 7.01/10
Burnley are currently 19th in the Premier League table and are battling relegation but things could have been a lot worse without centre-back James Tarkowski. The Englishman has been highly consistent for his side over the years, and the current campaign has been no different.
Hard as nails and just as clever, Tarkowski is arguably one of the best defenders from the teams in the bottom half of the table this season. It is also worth noting that he has played 25 out of the 27 league games of the club, showcasing his importance to the side. Moreover, in the coming weeks, the English centre-back could prove vital to his side staying in the Premier League for yet another campaign.
Tarkowski has been one of the best English defenders this season but he has not made the cut for the upcoming international fixtures.
#2 Trevoh Chalobah- 7.01/10
Trevoh Chalobah is yet another potential world-beater who has emerged out of the Cobham academy for Chelsea. The 22-year-old ace was given a chance by Thomas Tuchel in pre-season and has since made his way into the senior setup.
Although it did take a couple of loan moves, Chalobah is now a versatile and mature centre-back and of a terrific age profile. The defense can be built around him while Tuchel has also used him as a midfielder on a couple of occasions.
With Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta having uncertain futures at the club, the youngster is primed to become a starter for the club in the coming years. The Cobham product has managed 26 appearances across all competitions this season and could have a strong finish to the campaign.
It is quite surprising that despite his massive performances for the Blues, Gareth Southgate is yet to select him for the national team.
#1 John Stones- 7.21/10
John Stones is the only player on the list who has received a call-up for the upcoming friendlies and has been sensational for Manchester City this season.
The reigning Premier League champions are aiming to retain their title this season and Stones has been crucial in achieving this objective. Although he has only played 11 league games, his contributions in some tricky fixtures have been vital. Additionally, with Ruben Dias currently injured, the Englishman is sure to become an important part of the Pep Guardiola-led side.
Intelligent on the ball and sensible off it, there is no argument regarding why Stones has been the best English centre-back this season. His selection for the upcoming friendlies is justified and is sure to be one of the first names on the team sheet at the World Cup, especially if he keeps up his top-notch performances.