Marc Guéhi, England’s ‘big sponge’, comes of age on the biggest stage

In his first major tournament, Crystal Palace’s calm centre-half coped superbly with Serbia’s physical threat

Just before kick-off at the Arena AufSchalke, with England and Serbia lined up in formation, Marc Guéhi knelt on the turf, arms out, elbows bent. For the 23-year-old England centre-half, it was a moment in time as the most important game of his life loomed. What on earth was rushing through his mind?

There had been nerves in the England camp before the Euro 2024 opener; worries, too, taking in some sticky results over the year to date. There was concern over player fitness, the composition of the defence, as well, and player fitness in defence was Gareth Southgate’s greatest headache.

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