Jamie Carragher has claimed that William Saliba would be the best centre-back in the England squad if the Arsenal defender was able to represent the Three Lions at Euro 2024.

Saliba, 23, has been outstanding for the Gunners over the past two years since returning from a very productive loan spell in France with Marseille. He was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for his performances during the 2022/23 season, having starred up until suffering a season-ending back injury in a Europa League game against Sporting CP.

In the 2023/24 campaign, Saliba became the first Arsenal player to feature in every minute (3,420) of a season for the club in the Premier League era. He was integral to the Gunners pushing Manchester City until the final day for the title, though they ended up finishing second and two points behind.

Saliba contributed to the Gunners having the best defensive record in the Premier League, keeping 18 clean sheets and conceding just 29 goals in 38 matches. Despite this, Saliba is not a first-choice starter for France and sits behind the likes of Jules Kounde, Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano in the pecking order.

But, when assessing the options England have in central defence, ex-Liverpool defender Carragher was in no doubt to suggest that Saliba would START for the Three Lions. It comes after Gareth Southgate left Harry Maguire out of his 26-man squad for Euro 2024 with worries at the back starting to mount.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Carragher said: “You look at someone like Saliba. He very rarely gets a chance. I think he’d be our best centre-back. He would be an absolute shoo-in in the England team.

“My one worry for England, coming up against France, Mbappe and Griezmann, two of the best in the world, I’m not sure we’ve got the defenders who can stop them.”

Southgate has decided to pick John Stones, Marc Guehi, Ezri Konsa, Lewis Dunk and Joe Gomez as his centre-back options going into the Euros. Jarrad Branthwaite, who has been impressive for Everton, was left out alongside Liverpool’s Jarell Quansah and Maguire.

Carragher’s comments come less than 48 hours after Saliba claimed he was one of the best three defenders in the Premier League right now.

“I think I am in the top three [defenders in the league],” he told L’Equipe. “We finished with the best defence. I watch a lot of matches. I am a very humble person but last season, just like this season, I was in the top three defenders.

“I need to continue to work to go even higher. In terms of concentration, I am a lot better. Before, I could play a top match but in one phase of play, I slept a bit. That is no longer the case. I am always on alert.”