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Guehi feeding off the energy ´big brother´ Stones is bringing to England camp

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Jun 2024

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Marc Guehi praised the influence of fellow England defender John Stones during his time at Euro 2024, labelling his defensive partner as “a big brother”.

England secured top spot in Group C following their 0-0 draw with Slovenia in Cologne, setting up a meeting with Slovakia this Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals.

Guehi, who started every group game for Gareth Southgate, seamlessly slotted into England’s back four in the absence of recent tournament veteran, Harry Maguire.

The Crystal Palace defender has performed well in Germany, putting his displays down to the influence of Stones in the Three Lions’ camp in Blankenhain.

“I’d say credit to him. Not only is he a fantastic player, he’s a top person, someone that I think everyone in the squad gets along with,” said Guehi.

“And he’s constant, I’d say, almost like a big brother, putting his arm around you, taking care of you, do you know what I mean?

“But yeah, I’m going off him in a way. He’s leading it, he’s orchestrating things, and I’m just learning off him every single day, so it is a joy to play with him.”

Much was made of England’s defensive options heading into the Euros, with Stones’ long-term defensive partner Maguire not named in the final 26-man squad.

With the absence of the Manchester United defender, Southgate’s centre-back options ahead of the tournament had made just 36 appearances for their country, with Stones having achieved more caps (75) than Joe Gomez (15), Guehi (11), Lewis Dunk (6) and Ezri Konsa (4) combined.

“Yeah we get the information quite often to be fair, especially after the games,” Guehi said on the pre-tournament talk of England’s defence being a weak link.

“Almost as an incentive, I guess to carry on to make sure that standards remain high, but yeah, like I said, it’s definitely a collective, it’s not just the back four, for sure it’s the entire team that are playing a part in this.”

In recent major tournaments, England have been renowned for their defensive stability and have kept two clean sheets at Euro 2024 so far.

Across the last two European Championship tournaments, England have kept more clean sheets than any other side (seven in 10 games). All seven of those have been achieved with Jordan Pickford in goal.

The only shot stoppers with more clean sheets at the tournament are Spain’s Iker Casillas (9), Netherlands’ Edwin van der Sar (8) and Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon (8).

“Yeah I’d say I’m not particularly used to Jordan to be honest, I think it’s a bit of a shock at first, but actually, when you look back on it, he’s fantastic,” Guehi said.

“Constant communication, constantly making sure that you’re staying alert and you’re awake in the game. Like you say, his clean sheet record speaks for itself. He’s honestly a top goalkeeper.”

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