Gary Lineker hails Liverpool, Chelsea target as ‘brilliant’ at Euro 2024 as Ian Wright destroys Southgate claims

Former England striker Ian Wright and, inset, Crystal Palace and England defender Marc Guehi

Former England striker Ian Wright and, inset, Crystal Palace and England defender Marc Guehi

England defender Marc Guehi has received a gushing show of appreciation by Gary Lineker for his performances at Euro 2024 so far, while Ian Wright has taken exception at Gareth Southgate for his bizarre claims about Kalvin Phillips and the failed experiment of using Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield.

The Three Lions’ quest to end 58 years of hurt have gotten off to a lukewarm start in Germany. While they do have four points from their two games so far and look well placed to top Group C, the England performances have lacked the wow factor with criticism coming thick and fast at Southgate for a failure to get the best out of his star-studded squad.

Blessed with an array of attacking riches, the likes of Cole Palmer and Anthony Gordon are yet to see a single minute of action so far.

However, the biggest criticism of Southgate has been his decision to play Alexander-Arnold in midfield. And with the Three Lions losing control of games having taken early leads twice, the Liverpool man has found himself substituted on both occasions, making way for Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher.

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It’s not all doom and gloom, though, for England with the performance of Jude Bellingham in their opener giving them real confidence this could still be their year.

And the displays of Guehi in the heart of defence have also been a major positive, with the Chelsea and Liverpool target proving a model of consistency in his two games so far.

His performances for England will underline to his suitors why Guehi is destined for the very top, with TEAMtalk explaining why Crystal Palace are fearful he could be lured away this summer for a sizeable fee.

Gary Lineker waxes lyrical about Marc Guehi at Euro 2024

With England having only conceded one goal so far, Gary Lineker has spoken at length at just how good Guehi has been.

“Positives, Marc Guehi, what a performance. What made it even more special was the team were struggling… He can defend by the way,” Lineker told The Rest Is Football.

“We were all going we’re going to do a piece on Marc Guehi he’s been brilliant. He’s been absolutely superb, with and without the ball. He makes a mistake and we all go he’s made a mistake. But then he gets back. He doesn’t panic, he didn’t dive in. He’s got back because he’s quick, which is really useful. He waited and chose his moment, and his timing was perfect to block it.”

TEAMtalk understands that Guehi is wanted back at Chelsea this summer, who do have a clause allowing them to match any offer that comes in for the centre-half.

Liverpool have also been linked with a move, though Palace’s £65m valuation could yet prove problematic for both clubs. And with the Eagles on the cusp of losing Michael Olise to Bayern Munich, who will trigger his £58m exit clause, losing a second top player of the summer will be a scenario the Eagles are desperate to avoid.

Ian Wright takes Southgate to cleaners over Kalvin Phillips claim

Ian Wright, meanwhile, has taken exception with England coach Southgate over his claims about the ongoing decision to use Alexander-Arnold in midfield.

The Liverpool star’s performances have come in for strong criticism so far, with many feeling he is not equipped to play in central midfield at international level.

But in defending his decision to play Alexander-Arnold alongside Declan Rice, Southgate appeared to dig himself into a hole by claiming the use of the Liverpool man was an experiment and that they were still seeking a long-term replacement for Kalvin Phillips, who was left out of the squad after seeing his form nosedive during a loan at West Ham.

“He’s had some moments where he has delivered what we thought he would,” Southgate said on Alexander-Arnold after Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Denmark in Frankfurt.

“We know it is an experiment – we don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips – but we are trying some different things.

“At the moment, we are not flowing as we would like, that’s for sure.”

However, ITV pundit Wright has taken exception with those comments and believe either Kobbie Mainoo or Palace’s Adam Wharton are more than capable of playing in the England midfield.

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“It’s either Kobbie (Mainoo) or Wharton, but I’d probably put Wharton in there simply because he’s the closest I’ve seen to Fabian Ruiz.

“When I’ve seen him in the last few games for Palace at the end of the season, his calmness. He’s calm, he’s got a pass.

“He’s a very intelligent player and he’s somebody that wouldn’t panic in this situation. He’s been picked in the squad.

“Listening to Gareth, he mentioned about Kalvin Phillips and he’s the only one in the country who can play that role, I don’t believe that.

“I believe Adam Wharton can play it. I think Kobbie Mainoo can play it as well. You’ve picked them. Now we’re in a situation where it’s not desperation because we’ve got four points, but we’re in a place where we need something different, we need to change something.”