AC Milan legend Franco Baresi has admitted his surprise at Fikayo Tomori's omission from the latest England squad.
The former Chelsea defender has impressed in Serie A since his move from Stamford Bridge in 2021. The Rossoneri currently lead Italy's top flight by three points, sitting ahead of fellow title contenders Napoli and Inter.
Speaking exclusively to 90min, Baresi - one of the game's greatest ever defenders with over 700 appearances for Milan to his name - praised Tomori's start to life at San Siro.
He said: "I believe he has really shown his skills and his quality this season and he really understands the club and the way we play football here.
"He is a real personality around the club and he has great strength to play in such a difficult role but he has really shown that he deserves to stay. I and everyone at the club were very surprised he was not called up by England."
Asked if he saw any similarities between his game and Tomori's, he added: "No, it is never good to do these sorts of comparisons. He is his own player and every player is different."
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Arsenal's Ben White is arguably England's in-form defender right now, with Three Lions regular Harry Maguire also included in the latest squad despite a string of erratic performances for Manchester United. John Stones is also there despite being out of Manchester City's starting XI for large portions of the season due to the form of Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte, while Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi was a surprise inclusion.
When previously asked about the likes of Tomori and Wolves' Max Kilman over their omissions, Southgate said: "He's [Kilman] had a good season with Wolves. There are a lot of good defenders around, Fikayo is another we have been tracking closely. We know the attributes that are needed for the balance of the team. He is very much on our radar."
England face Switzerland and Ivory Coast in friendlies this month, having already qualified for the World Cup later this year.