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Gareth Southgate insists Phil Jones is England's best defender

Gareth Southgate insists Phil Jones is Englands best defender

Southgate heaps praise on Phil Jones

England boss Gareth Southgate has heaped praise on centre-back Phil Jones ahead of the Three Lions' crunch encounter against Slovakia in the World Cup qualifiers.

The 25-year-old has had a series of injuries during his time at Old Trafford but Southgate is pleased that the centre-back is back to full fitness.

Southgate has already confirmed Jones will feature at the Wembley on Tuesday night, and he reckons that the Manchester United man is probably the nation's best defender based on current form.

"Not just this season but there was a long period in the middle of last season where I think he has been the best defender. He's got very good composure on the ball. He's got the reading of the game, he's aggressive in his defending - which I like - and I think he has got fantastic experience, although he is still only relatively young," Southgate told reporters h/t ESPN.

England are currently at the top of Group F, two points ahead of second-placed Slovakia, and a win over tonight's opposition would put them on the brink of securing a World Cup berth.

Nevertheless, Jones and his teammates will have to put in a better performance that than at Malta, where he struggled to find the scoresheet for whole of the first period.

England eventually won the game by a 4-0 scoreline, but the showing was not one of their best with Harry Kane urging the fans to show patience towards the players.