Posted date: 14:51 GMT, November 12, 2020 | Updated: 15:10 GMT, 12 November 2020

It was a headache Gareth Southgate didn’t want and didn’t need – but Joe Gomez’s injury left him seriously contemplating doing it as England prepares for three matches in seven days

The Liverpool defender injured his knee during training on Wednesday and has now undergone successful surgery to fix the problem.

But he faces a long run on the sidelines and a battle to play again this season – and is jeopardizing his place in the postponed Euro 2020 tournament

With apparently Harry Maguire appearing at the center of the first defense, Gomez was his company’s front-runner in four-way defense, and he was almost certain to start in the three center back

But the defender’s injury opens the door for the likes of Eric Dyer, Connor Coady, Michael Kane, and Teron Mings to claim a place in the Southgate starting line-up.

The next three matches against the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland give the England coach a good chance to assess his alternative options. Sportsmail looks at the men vying for a place in his defense

The next three matches give Gareth Southgate a good opportunity to consider his alternative options

Dyer made his debut for England in midfield in 2015 and also played there under Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur

But after originally joining Tottenham as a center back, the 26-year-old returned to his normal position during Project Restart and all of his matches this season were in defense

Southgate participated in Dyer’s three and four defense matches during the Nations League matches, and it is possible that he made his way into the starting line-up for the upcoming matches against Belgium and Iceland

The defender has also been impressive at Tottenham and looks like he can be competing for titles this season

As things stand, Dyer will be nailed to start as part of the back three the only concern with him and Maguire in four-wheel defense will be lack of speed

Eric Dyer has returned to his natural position in the center of defense for both club and country.

The Wolverhampton captain has been blowing fresh air since his arrival on the international stage and it is clear that he is enjoying playing for his country.

Cady is used to playing in three club-level defense, which makes him an attractive option for Southgate The England manager also clearly has confidence in Liverpool, having started him in three of his last four matches

The 27-year-old is best known for his speech and leadership – two qualities that put him in a good place to pose for the squad next summer he will likely compete with Dyer for a place in the starting line-up

Three defending Maguire, Dier and Coady seem unlikely with Southgate usually filling a center back with a more mobile player (this is where Gomez could have come)

Connor Coady’s experience playing in a three-way defense could put him in a good position for England

After a mixed campaign 2019-20, Kane was one of Everton’s best players early this season.

His level has earned him summons in the last two squads and if his good form at club level continues, he has a strong chance to book a place in next summer’s tournament

The 27-year-old appears to be behind Dyer and Cady in center-back – Southgate Kane started in the friendly against Wales last month but did not play against Belgium or Denmark

He is more accustomed to playing in four-way defense than three defense, with Everton usually playing 4-3-3 – something that might prevent him from being the first choice at the international level

Michael Kane was one of Everton’s best players early this season.

Mings was part of the Aston Villa team who kept clean sheets four times this season, most recently in the UAE last weekend.

The center-back has only played three international matches for England and is likely to compete with Kane as one of the first backup options

Like Kane, Mings is better suited to a quarterback than three at the back, having formed a strong partnership with Esri Kunsa at Villa

With Southgate usually starting with three central defenders, he will need at least three reserve players, and if Mengs continues to play well in the Premier League, he should earn himself a spot in the Euro squad

One of the factors that could prove his trump card is that he is left-handed – an already rare feature among this current group of England players

Gomez’s injury may have increased Kyle Walker’s chances of forming the squad next summer and being a key player

His chances of playing at right back seem slim with the potential for Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander Arnold and Reese James ahead in penalty kicks.

But his speed makes him a tough contender to play in three defense, alongside Maguire and another center back

Southgate also knows he can trust Manchester City to play the role, after he used him there in the 2018 World Cup

Kyle Walker’s speed makes him a staple in Three Defenders alongside Harry Maguire and One Others

The Burnley defender recently told the Lancashire Telegraph that he felt he was the “forgotten man” after being disqualified from the last squads

Tarkovsky was part of a team that kept second-place clean sheets last season, but appears unwelcome to Southgate, as his last appearance was for England in 2018.

Burnley had a bad start to the season and is second in the standings – even though he has kept clean sheets twice

With Kane, Mings, Cady and Dire in front of him, it will likely take Tarkovsky a few more casualties to make his way back into the Three Lions lineup

Another forgotten man but one of the key players in the 2018 World Cup, John Stones has not played for England since November 2019

With the defender not being able to secure a match at Manchester City, he is looking against it to secure a place in Southgate’s squad next summer – unless he can secure his transfer in January

Nathan Aki’s injury could push the Netherlands to the top of the league as he played 90 minutes in the Champions League against Olympiacos earlier this month

John Stones was one of the main players in the 2018 World Cup but has not played since last year

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England national football team, Eric Dyer, Connor Coady, Michael Kane, Tyrone Mings, Joe Gomez, Aston Villa Evg

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