At the foundation of Gareth Southgate’s brave and bold England team were John Stones, Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker.
The trio were deployed in a three-man defence and played a big part in helping England start attacks by playing out from the back.
Maguire’s marauding runs through midfield, in particular, were eye-catching.
Stones, overall, had a very good tournament as well. His two goals against Panama were pivotal in breaking down a team who’s sole purpose was to defend and remain sturdy at the back for as long as possible.
The 24-year-old, however, has come in for criticism after a lapse in concentration allowed Mario Mandzukic to net an extra time winner for Croatia in England’s 2-1 World Cup semi-final defeat.
It was an unfortunate moment for Stones, who up until that point, was one of England’s best performers on the night. And Manchester City supporters on Twitter were quick to remind everyone that…
I agree. Still think Stones performed the best out of the back 3 today.
— Cliff Larsen (@CheddaMCFC) July 11, 2018
Stones played well other than making the crucial mistake for their winner walker was decent took a hit to the balls and Sterling arguably our best player Southgate subbed him on 70 and we looked worse ever since
— MCFC 1894 (@ManCityArmy1894) July 11, 2018
Stones & Walker tonight
— (@mcfc_96) 11 July 2018
Proud of Walker, Stones, Pickford, Sterling & Trippier only
— Jim MCFC (@JimmyBollocks23) July 11, 2018
— Charlie Large (@CharlieLarge) July 11, 2018
John Stones, what a player we have in him.#mcfc
— Tom__Mc (@Gurnardfeet) July 11, 2018
Stones asleep at the end altho doesn’t change fact he’s probably been England’s best player this WC ??????
— Blue Tone – MCFC ?????? (@MCFCTone) 11 July 2018
— Ste Adams (@steadams18) July 11, 2018