Gareth Southgate Turns To James Tarkowski To Fix Defensive Issues
At the end of March England step up their preparations for getting knocked out of the World Cup at the Group Stage this summer with two high profile friendlies and James Tarkowski could find himself in the squad.
It seems weird that when England face Netherlands and Italy, in Amsterdam and London respectively, they will be the only of the three European powers of football going to the World Cup in Russia later this year.
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Netherlands were in the final just four years ago and Italy were world champions in 2006 and helping knock England out four years ago, even though they themselves also didn't get out of the group.
Gareth Southgate would have some job on his hands for England not to qualify from the group this time, Panama and Tunisia won't be easy but they should be winnable games.
The England manager's big problem is who to pick in defence. He's likely to favour three centre backs with John Stones and Harry Maguire all but nailed on but the third position is very questionable and according to the Telegraph James Tarkowski could be called up for the friendlies to fill it.
Burnley have been the surprise package in many ways this season currently sitting in seventh place, just five points behind Arsenal. Sean Dyche's side's defence has been the outstanding feature of the side.
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The Clarets have conceded just 26 goals in the Premier League, meaning only league leaders Manchester City, second place Manchester United and fourth place Spurs have let in more goals.
Tarkowski has been at the heart of the defence and has played very well, including out performing England rival Michael Keane in the game against Everton at the weekend with Southgate in attendance.
The England manager could turn to the former Oldham player with Chris Smalling out of favour, Gary Cahill out of the Chelsea team, Phil Jones recently injured and Joe Gomez not getting picked for Liverpool.
When asked about getting into the England side recently Tarkowski said, "Everyone wants to get to a World Cup so it would be a good time to break in to the squad. I'm not too worried about it, I'm happy enough here playing football week in week out.
"If it comes then obviously I would be delighted to represent my country, but I'm just happy to be back out there playing football again."
If he does go to Russia they'll be no chillaxing: