sport news How Gareth Southgate could re-jig his England defence if Kyle Walker is ruled ... trends now

sport news How Gareth Southgate could re-jig his England defence if Kyle Walker is ruled ... trends now
sport news How Gareth Southgate could re-jig his England defence if Kyle Walker is ruled ... trends now

sport news How Gareth Southgate could re-jig his England defence if Kyle Walker is ruled ... trends now

A 5-0 Champions League win is usually something to celebrate, but Pep Guardiola was not completely happy after Manchester City's demolition of Copenhagen on Wednesday night. 

It soon became clear why as he provided an update on Kyle Walker's latest injury setback in his post-match press conference.

'He will be a while out,' Guardiola said. 'We have to speak to the doctors. Hopefully he can (get back for the World Cup) like Kalvin (Phillips).

Kyle Walker has emerged as a major doubt for the World Cup after undergoing groin surgery

Kyle Walker has emerged as a major doubt for the World Cup after undergoing groin surgery

'I know how important the World Cup is for the players but honestly I don't know right now.'

Walker was forced off in the Manchester derby on Sunday, and his place at the World Cup is now in serious doubt as he has undergone groin surgery.

There remains hope that he will return in time to represent his country but with the Three Lions flying out to Qatar in less than six weeks, Walker's chances of featuring at the tournament hang in the balance.

Gareth Southgate will have to re-jig his defence if Walker is ruled out of the World Cup

Gareth Southgate will have to re-jig his defence if Walker is ruled out of the World Cup

The 32-year-old has become a key player in Gareth Southgate's England squad over the years, earning 70 caps, the majority of which have come on the right side of a back three in recent times.

If Walker does miss out, this would leave Southgate with an unwanted defensive conundrum to solve.

Sportsmail looks at the options available to the England boss should he be forced into a re-jig of his defence on the eve of the World Cup.

A back three of Stones, Dier and Maguire (and don't forget Coady)

Walker only just returned from injury in time to make England's squad for their Nations League clashes against Italy and Germany last month. 

With this in mind, Southgate started him on the bench for the latter fixture and went with a back three of John Stones, Eric Dier and Harry Maguire.

The trio have over 150 international caps between them and did very little wrong in the first half until Stones went down with a hamstring problem and was replaced by Walker.

If Southgate goes back to these three players he would be turning to defenders with significant experience who he clearly trusts, but there may still be concerns about playing them all together in Qatar.

Walker has been an ever-present in England's defence in the last two major tournaments, largely due to his recovery pace which allows him to cover for his team-mates.

Southgate may want to rely on John Stones and Harry Maguire, but they are currently injured

Southgate may want to rely on John Stones and Harry Maguire, but they are currently injured

Eric Dier is back in the England setup and could play alongside Stones and Maguire

Eric Dier is back in the England setup and could play alongside Stones and Maguire

His absence would leave England with an alarming lack of pace at the back if they go with Stones, Dier and Maguire.

Another issue is that Stones and Maguire are currently sidelined themselves and the latter's form has been an issue for some time, with the Manchester United captain conceding a penalty against Germany last week.

There is no guarantee that either man will get much game time between now and the World Cup, too, and playing them either side of Dier in a back three could be deemed a risk by Southgate.

Another option to slot into a back three would be the

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